ALL except one senior official of the Department of Labor and Employment have assailed a “sinister campaign” being waged against Secretary Silvestre Bello III, which they said affects the department.
They noted charges filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against Bello.
“If only to protect the integrity of the institution we serve, we stand strongly against the evil designs propelled by obsession and wicked personal interests to destroy it,” said a manifesto signed by four of five undersecretaries, five assistant secretaries, and the directors of bureaus and offices.
“We stand firmly by the probity of Secretary Bello in leading us, and in the conduct of the affairs of the Department,” they added.
The labor officials said they decided to come out with a statement because they believe that the continued attacks against Bello will ultimately affect the entire agency.
“While the sinister attacks may be directed against Secretary Bello, we believe that his tormentors are willfully destroying the institution by maliciously implying that its officials merely kowtow to the Secretary’s alleged ‘unauthorized’ acts in the performance of his duties,” the officials said.
They added they are convinced the allegations hurled against Bello are false and are “resurrected allegations first brought to public attention last year and dismissed by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.”
Earlier this month, a radio commentator filed graft and corruption and malfeasance charges against Bello for “his abuse of power in making 40 official travels abroad” from Jan. 17, 2017 to Oct. 30, 2019.
The complainant said Bello’s trips have cost the Philippine government at least P4 million in public funds.
Bello has denied the charges saying all his trips abroad are covered by authorization from President Duterte.
Bello has also said that even Duterte himself has not raised the issue before him, which he said means the latter does not believe the allegations.