DILG chief fends off bribery, corruption claims

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2017 10:42 AM | Updated as of Apr 03 2017 12:19 PM

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael "Mike" Sueno speaks during a press briefing in Malacañan, August 2016. King Rodriguez, Malacanang Photo

DUTERTE MEN CLASH: Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno on Monday denied various allegations of corruption and other abuses hurled against him by 3 subordinates.

DILG undersecretaries John Castriciones, Jesus Hinlo, and Emily Padilla have reportedly called on President Rodrigo Duterte to remove Sueno, whom they accused of collecting grease money from illegal gambling rings through his grandson, a police official identified only as "Senior Supt. Sintin."

Sueno said he received an offer to protect gambling syndicates in exchange for payola, but he rejected the proposal.

"May grupong nag-insist na tanggapin ko ang pera sa butas, iyung payola galing sa illegal gambling. Sila mismo ang nag-contact sa gambling lords na sa payola. E hindi ko tinanggap," he told radio DZMM.

(A group insisted that I accept the payoffs from illegal gambling. They contacted gambling lords about the payola. I rejected their offer.)

The DILG chief also distanced his grandson from the issue, saying "malaki ang posisyon niya sa Crame, pero wala na akong influence sa kanya."

(He holds a high position at Camp Crame, but I have no influence over him.)

Sueno went on to refute accusations that he owns a hotel in Marbel, South Cotabato, saying the property belongs to his businessman brother.

"Ang kapatid ko is siguro 20 times richer than I am... Hindi ko kayang magpatayo ng ganoong kalaki," he said.

(My brother is probably 20 times richer than I am. I am not capable of building a structure that big.)

The DILG chief also belied claims that he went to Austria with his family to purchase allegedly overpriced firetrucks.

Sueno said the purchase of the firetrucks was a government-to-government deal approved during the previous administration. He said he only went to Austria to follow up on the delivery of the second batch of 76 trucks.

He also denied authorizing a mayor to join a Washington trip regarding illegal drugs despite the local official's inclusion in Duterte's list of alleged narco-politicians.

The delegation to Washington, he said, was prepared by the Local Government Academy. He also noted that he was not even part of the trip.

DILG CHIEF FIRES BACK

The Philippine Star reported that Sueno has handed Duterte a request to remove undersecretaries Castriciones, Hinlo, and Padilla due to "irreconcilable differences."

During the interview, Sueno also turned the tables on his 3 subordinates, hinting that they may be tainted with corruption.

"Ang premise ko rito ay I am a very strong advocate of the President's anti-corruption drive. Gusto kong may pagbabago sa department... Gusto nilang i-control ako e," he said.

"May reports na kaming ginagawa sa tatlo."

(My premise here is I am a very strong advocate of the President's anti-corruption drive. I want to reform the department but they want to control me... We are drafting a report about them.)

Sueno and the 3 undersecretaries belonged to the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Council Committee (MRRD-NECC) which campaigned for the President during the May 2016 polls.

ABS-CBN News is still trying to reach Castriciones, Hinlo, and Padilla for comment.