February 25, 2018, 4:00 am
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Duterte gave Licuanan an ultimatum

PRESIDENT Duterte on Monday night said he asked former Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chairwoman Patricia Licuanan to resign, warning her that she would be formally charged if she declined.

The President, during a meeting with officials from Visayas and Mindanao in Cebu City, said he instructed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to call Licuanan and to tell her, “Either she steps down or I will file a case against her. Mamili siya (She can choose).”

Duterte said Licuanan used the funds allotted for government programs for her personal use.

Licuanan, who chose to resign in January, has denied that she engaged in excessive travels and mismanaged the funds allotted fo government scholars.

The President, during the oath-taking yesterday of more than 100 presidential appointees including members of the Constitutional Consultative Committee chaired by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, reiterated that he had sacked an official from CHEd and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) along with several other appointees due to allegations of corruption.

Duterte reiterated those in government should refrain from committing corruption under his watch.

Apart from Licuanan, Duterte fired in January former Marina administrator Marcial Amaro III for alleged excessive trips abroad, while former Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chair Terry Ridon was fired in December also for alleged “unnecessary trips” abroad.

Among those relieved were former Interior Secretary Mike Sueño, who had been accused of facilitating the implementation of a contract for an Austria firm; former National Irrigation Administration chief Peter La Viña, for allegedly asking for cuts from irrigation projects; and former budget undersecretary Gertrudo de Leon, who Duterte accused of influence-peddling.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. yesterday said the termination of Social Security System (SSS) chairman Amado Valdez and Commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña would help make the agency more efficient especially in its delivery of services to the people.

Roque, in a briefing in Kalinga, said the non-renewal of the terms of office of Valdez and La Viña would not derail the operations of the SSS since the functions of the chairman and board member usually involved attending meetings.
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