MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday said allegations in a supposed complaint letter against former Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chief Dionisio Santiago may not be “gospel truth” but that President Rodrigo Duterte has the final say when to sack an appointee who has lost his trust and confidence.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this clarification after the complaint letter against Santiago, which accused the former DDB chief of corrupt practices, was disowned by the DDB employees union, the organization that supposedly filed it.
“I was very clear, if there are allegations in a complaint, we did not say they are the truth,” Roque said in a news conference in Malacañang.
“And that is why I understand General Santiago was somehow hurt. But I emphasize, we have never alleged that they are gospel truth, they are allegations, which I’m sure, he can easily dispute," he said of the former military chief.
Roque on Monday said Santiago was asked by the President to leave his post not only because of his comments against a mega drug rehabilitation facility in the country, but also due to complaints over his alleged ‘junkets’ and for supposedly receiving a gift from a suspected narco-politician.
The presidential spokesperson, however, clarified the same day that the allegations against Santiago were “overtaken by events because the President himself said that he decided to fire General Santiago because of his statement that the mega drug facility is a mistake.”
In his news conference Tuesday, Roque stressed that Santiago’s resignation “mooted” the complaint as far as the erstwhile DDB chief’s stay in office is concerned. Roque earlier said the criminal aspect of the complaint against Santiago may be taken up by the Office of the Ombudsman.
He added that whether the complaint against Santiago has been resolved or not, Duterte can at any time fire an appointee due to loss of confidence.
“If at all, maybe what we are stressing is that perhaps there was additional displeasure because of the pendency of the complaint and I’m not saying it was not acted upon,” Roque said.
“He was fired because of the reasons stated by the President. These are probably additional grounds by which the President lost his trust and confidence," he added.