Palace says Magsaysay source a 'disgruntled employee'

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2011 03:41 PM | Updated as of Aug 04 2011 11:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A resigned Palace employee who fed information to opposition lawmaker Mitos Magsaysay about alleged corruption in the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) has been described as a disgruntled employee who had been called out for inefficiency.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the opposition was "firing blanks" when it accused the PCDSPO of corruption in procuring computers based on allegations of Reginald Tongol, former Director V for Administration of the PCDSPO. The department is headed by Secretary Ricky Carandang.

“Ayoko ko na ho isipin kung ano ho yung motibo ng oposisyon other than the usual shooting of the blanks on why they picked up this certain issue," Valte said. 

Valte said Tongol's father is a close friend of Magsaysay.

She described the ex-PCDSPO director as a “disgruntled employee” who was “very inefficient” and was called to task for not accomplishing given assignments on time.

“Obviously, he’s a disgruntled employee because he has been called out for inefficiency more times than I can actually count, not just by myself but also Secretary Carandang, Secretary Edwin Lacierda and Undersecretary Manolo Quezon. Obviously, disgruntled po itong tao na ito. I think hindi po admin ang gusto niyang trabaho in the first place. I suppose he wanted something more he was given. But given the fact that he was not performing properly doon sa mga tasks po na ibinibigay sa kanya, I guess he was being vindictive because he went to the opposition to say his piece. He could have talked to us.”

She added: "He was very inefficient. I was one of those people na naniningil po ng trabaho sa kanya. There was an emergency plan that was given to him to be crafted sometime November last year. Noong hiningi ko po after [State of the Nation Address], wala pa rin po. I think that’s basis enough for us to say that. Despite these lapses, Sec. Carandang chose to give more chances than I could count.”

'Carandang recommended Tongol'

Valte said it was only last Thursday when Carandang told Tongol “to look for another job” when the latter was asked about another delay in a task he was asked to do.

“Sinabihan nga siya, ‘You know if you cannot do your job properly, then you better find another job.’ Unbeknownst to us, he crafted a resignation letter mistakenly addressed to Secretary Carandang and had just asked one of the staff to give it to Secretary Carandang the day after, Friday, the effective date of his resignation.”

Valte said Tongol should have submitted his resignation letter to the President, technically being a presidential appointee. Tongol was recommended to the post by Carandang and the PCDSPO.

The President has been notified of Tongol's resignation but said there is no action yet on the resignation.

Valte said Tongol headed the bids and awards committee that called for the bids for the purchase of computers. She said the bidding failed twice because nobody submitted their bids, hence the negotiated purchase, following government rules.

She said the purchase was aboveboard and expressed readiness to provide Magsaysay or the public with the documents. Valte said the computers were needed by the communication staff.

Asked how Tongol got his job, Valte said: "Attorney Tongol was a batch higher than me in law school. When he discovered that I have been working for government, he sent me a message on Facebook, asking if there was an opening in the office. I informed him there was an opening for the position of executive assistant. Nag-apply naman po siya, he was interviewed by his principal kung saan po ang vacancy and he was accepted."

"May degree naman ang tao. Maganda naman ang CV niya. When the staffing pattern was finished for PCSPO and there was a slot for someone to head admin, he was recommended. Secretary Carandang was actually the one who recommended him, along with the other principals in the office.”

Despite what happened, Valte said the PCDSPO would not file a case against Tongol, saying they are “not vindictive.”