MANILA—Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio on Tuesday said his resignation was not due to an alleged rift between him and DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan.
Rio also said the flagged transactions with the DICT's confidential fund had nothing to do with him leaving his post, and that he was not making allegations either against Honasan.
“I would like to clarify, I am not insinuating anything against Secretary Honasan," Rio said in an interview with ABS-CBN.
Rio again said that he resigned because he could not work with the new officials working with Honasan.
"I am not in the loop in [the] decision-making process anymore,” Rio said.
Shortly after his resignation letter surfaced, several news outlets linked Rio to a Commission on Audit report flagging some P300 million in cash advances given to Honasan from the DICT’s confidential fund.
Rio said he had no first-hand knowledge of any of the transactions mentioned in the COA report and he only commented on it to express his opinion on the issue.
"The fact that DICT got P300 million in December 2019 was flagged, but that can be explained. When COA comes up with a report, it does not mean na guilty agad (immediately),” he said.
Rio said Congress approved P400 million in confidential funds for the DICT in 2019 and P800 million in 2020.
The DICT didn't need the funds, which were supposed to be used for intelligence and surveillance, Rio said.
“I never asked for confidential funds when I was OIC [officer-in-charge]. That is my position. I think there is no mandate for DICT to really go into surveillance," he added.
But his disagreement with the existence of the confidential funds was not related either to his resignation, Rio said.
Meanwhile, Rio said President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to acknowledge receipt of his resignation letter.