‘I have self-control, but I can shoot’
MANILA, Philippines -- Resigned Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno said he already expected controversies to crop up after news came out his former boss, the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, had died in a plane crash.
And he knew even then that these controversies could only come from “forces who wanted my position.”
In an interview with Philippine Star’s Wilson Lee Flores, which was published on Sunday, Puno said he already read the body language of some of his detractors.
“My suspicions were right, they fabricated lies, but I just waited and then came the pronouncement from the President. I am grateful for the confidence of the President,” he said.
Puno resigned from his post on August 31, but it was only last week that this was revealed and later accepted by President Benigno Aquino III.
On August 19, a day after Robredo’s plane went missing in the waters off Masbate, Puno and other police officials went to Robredo’s condominium.
While some questioned what he was doing there, the embattled official said he was only following the instructions of Aquino.
Puno’s name would again be linked to another controversy when a report surfaced that Robredo was allegedly investigating his connection to an allegedly anomalous transaction in the procurement of firearms.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago launched on Friday a probe on the two incidents involving Puno. Some considered the hearing a futile one, however, noting Puno only denied all the allegations against him.
“I do not really know if Secretary Robredo was investigating me. If meron, OK iyan (If there are, it’s okay), it should come out. They claim there are documents, but I have yet to see them,” he said.
Nonetheless, he said he had a good relationship with Robredo, adding that they were only testing the waters at first, until Aquino told them that they should work together.
“There are malicious people who think and say bad things, but I know the truth. Look, after the President said those words, nagbaligtaran na sila (they started to reverse themselves). If you’re a reporter, you should only deal with facts… They say I am bad copy (for media), because I do not react. But if I were a politico, lalaban ako (I’d fight back), but I’m not a politician,” Puno said.
He said he only kept silent for so long “because when you handle security matters, you don’t broadcast what you’re doing because a lot of people will be compromised.”
He said he also prepared his 81-year-old mother Soledad, his wife, children and siblings of the controversies.
Still, he credits his having a “strong control” amid the criticisms that were lobbed against him. He said he is not a person not easily angered.
He said he is not a meek person, however.
“To those who keep attacking unfairly, malakas ang control ko (I have strong control), I don’t usually react. Pero hindi rin ako mabait na tao always (But I am not always a meek person), if you throw stones at me, sometimes I will shoot you,” he told Flores.