Usec Paras to boss Bello: Wala akong away sa kaniya
MANILA - Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras on Thursday said he bears no grudges against his boss, Secretary Silvestre Bello, despite a reported rift between them.
"There’s nothing to patch up because wala naman akong away sa kaniya. I respect him. He’s my boss. I’m just doing my job," he told ANC's Headstart.
"If Secretary Bello is listening now, I still would extend my hand of friendship with him. His problem is his own."
Paras said he had "nothing to do" with any of the extortion complaints against Bello, saying he did not know the people involved.
He said recruitment agency owner Azizzah Salim approached him during a job fair in Quezon City, seeking a direct line to President Rodrigo Duterte to be able to report corruption in the Department of Labor and Employment.
He asked Salim to talk him about the matter in his office. The agency owner then reported to him the alleged acts of then-Usec. Dominador Say.
Paras claimed the President installed him in the department to keep watch on corruption, and he was simply doing his job when he reported what was relayed to him by Salim.
But because he did not want to take responsibility for it, he directed Salim to Dante Jimenez, chair of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).
It was Jimenez that arranged for a meeting with Duterte, to which Paras was asked to tag along.
"Kung ikakagalit niya na nangyari itong incident na ito at nadadawit siya, wala po akong kasalanan," Paras said when asked about his relationship with Bello.
"Hindi niya dapat ikagalit. Matuwa nga dapat siya na sa departamento, may na-report tayong corruption," he said.
Paras said Bello might be "touchy" because he was close with Say, who they call within the department as the chief's "super-undersecretary."
Paras said he was not the undersecretary who Bello claimed was "salivating" to be the the new labor chief.
"Mr Secretary, hindi po ako yang Usec na yan. Wala po akong ambisyon sa pagka-Secretary. I’m even willing to sign a waiver that I will not accept," he said.
"It’s plain stupidity someone is working on the ouster of someone because he cannot be assured na siya naman ang i-appoint ni Presidente," he added.