Lawmakers want charges filed vs Sueno

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2017 05:28 PM

Charges should be formally filed against dismissed Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, lawmakers said Tuesday.

"The public and most especially other appointees should be assured that the removal was not brought about by infighting, demolition jobs or jockeying for positions by persons or groups who may have intentionally sown distrust due to veiled agendas," Muntinlupa Representative Ruffy Biazon said in a statement.

Taking the alleged corrupt practices of Sueno to court will also give the deposed secretary a chance to defend himself. 

Sueno was fired by President Duterte on Monday night after senior officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) claimed possible wrongdoing by the former South Cotabato governor. 

Former National Irrigation Administration chief Peter Laviña, who was also sacked from his post, should also be given the opportunity to defend himself before the courts, another lawmaker said. 

"Formal charges must be filed if evidence warrant or show probable cause. Due process will allow Sueno and Lavina to defend themselves and for prosecutors to make their case," 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-list Rep Salvador Belaro said.

"He (Sueno) should be properly investigated before being removed else this government will become unstable from summary removal of government officials based on yet unproven allegations of corruption," Siquijor Representative Rav Rocamora added.

But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV doubted that cases will be filed against Sueno and Laviña, who both helped in Duterte's presidential campaign in 2016. 

Trillanes said Sueno's removal from the Cabinet was only meant to pave the way for allies who want the post.

"Meron silang gustong i-appoint diyan pag natapos na yung ban ng election," Trillanes alleged, without naming who he was referring to.

"May mga names being floated around pero meron pa yang infighting dyan," he said.

Duterte's allies in the House refuted these claims and labelled Sueno's dismissal as proof that the "President means business when it comes to his promise to rid the bureaucracy of corruption." -- with reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News