April 23, 2018, 12:33 am
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Palace keeps public guessing; Says exec to be sacked not from PCSO, ERC

THE official to be sacked by President Duterte does not belong to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office which is now being hounded by controversy or the Energy Regulatory Commission, according to presidential spokesman Harry Roque who was supposed to name the official yesterday.

He declined to give details about the person he referred to as a “he” and the “head” of one office. He previously said the person is a presidential appointee.

In a press briefing, Roque also declined to comment when asked if the official belongs to the Maritime Industry Authority but said the allegation that its administrator, Marcial Amaro, made at least 11 unnecessary trips abroad is already being looked into.

Roque on Monday said in a radio interview the name of the official would be revealed on January 3. Yesterday at the briefing in Malacañang, he said he received a text message at around 2 a.m. and a call around 7 a.m. instructing him to hold the announcement.

Roque did not say who sent the message and made the call but said these were on the instructions of the President. He said no reason was given as to why the announcement was being delayed. He also said he could not say if that means the termination of the official is also on hold.

He also said that when he inquired about the possible reasons for holding the announcement, he learned from the Presidential Management Staff that it had just submitted documents pertaining to the legislative charter or legal basis for the creation of the office headed by the official who was supposed to be sacked.

Roque also declined to say why the official was being sacked but he previously said it is part of the government’s campaign against corruption.

Roque said it is not new for the President to postpone an announcement or implementation of a directive, like when he announced that he would fire an entire commission which he implemented days later.

Roque denied that official to be sacked is from the PCSO which recently hugged the headlines after holding a multi-million-peso Christmas party at a five-star hotel.

“He (Duterte) holds in high esteem both the GM (general manager Alexander Balutan) of PCSO and director Sandra Cam whom he recently appointed to the post,” Roque said adding the President is aware of the reported lavish party.

On the Energy Regulatory Commission, Roque said there is no one to sack because the Ombudsman suspended the commissioners of the agency for a year. Left at the ERC is Agnes Devanadera who was named by Duterte as ERC head just last November.

Since assuming the presidency in 2016, Duterte has dismissed at least 10 key officials including Ismael Sueno as interior secretary for an alleged anomalous truck deal and Terry Ridon as head of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor for alleged foreign junkets.
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