MANILA – Former Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno on Friday lamented that his silence on reports that he tried to raid the offices and a condominium unit of the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo has been taken as a sign of guilt.
“Unfortunately and ironically, if I may say, as the constitution guarantees otherwise, my silence has been propagated to be a sign of guilt. Instead of demanding the accusers to prove their accusations, some sectors of media require me to prove my innocence,” Puno said.
Puno said he can prove that all allegations hurled by his accusers are lies.
“I would like to state that I can face anyone in the eyes and show that all these are all lies and this is why I am here,” said Puno.
Puno said, when news about the so-called raid came out, he “opted not to react to speculative accusations that have been hurled against by some media organizations”.
He explained that as undersecretary for peace and order, he is entrusted with functions that involve strict confidence, security and protocol.
“Violating the confidential nature of my function may expose people to danger or jeopardize their critical operations,” he said.
He cited, as a case in point, the instruction of President Aquino to secure the offices of Robredo, including all his documents, after the late DILG secretary’s plane crashed off Masbate.
“The accusations that I raided and ransacked the offices and condo is truly unfair and unfounded. For the record, I would like to state that there was no such raid. It was an order to secure witnessed by representatives of the late secretary, elements of the Quezon City Police, representatives of the Office of Internal Security of the secretary, regular guards of the building and my staff,” he said.
He said they went to Robredo’s condominium unit after learning from Police Superintendent Oliver Tanseco, deputy police senior assistant for the Office of the Secretary, that other documents were there.
“Prudence dictated that we also secure the condominium unit,” he said.
In his opening statement, Puno first thanked Senator Miriam Santiago for conducting the Senate inquiry “which shows that that this country is still ruled by law”.
He then branded his accusers as “liars” and that their accusations, just like in the past, are baseless.
Two years ago, Puno was accused of being a top jueteng protector. However, he said his accusers had no evidence to substantiate their accusation against him.
“For the record, I would like to state that two years after, not a single case was filed against me by my accusers. To this day, aside from the allegations, no evidence was presented to support the accusations made against me,” he stressed.
“Today, I again face this August body in compliance with the invitation I received and I shall take this opportunity to again show that an accusation should remain to be such no matter how often it is repeated and the truth remains to be the truth no matter how strongly it is suppressed,” he said.