Duterte fires Cabinet member over alleged wrongdoing


Ismael Sueno. Source Facebook

The minister denied all the allegations, saying the businesses in question belonged to his relatives while the fire truck deal had been closed under his predecessor, adding that he chose to go ahead despite a pending court case because the Australian trucks had more accessories than Chinese ones. Sueno said he performed his governmental duties with the "blessings of President Duterte".

In a statement issued Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Cuy's appointment is "effective immediately". However, he said they were only hoping that Duterte would investigate the allegations they raised and correct any irregularities.

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Undersecretary Catalino Cuy as officer-in-charge of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The announcement on Sueno's dismissal was made shortly after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 4 April.

"[Undersecretary] Cuy will hold the position to ensure the continuous and effective delivery of services of the Department until the President appoints a new Secretary", Mr. Abella said.

"So I said, 'you're fired.' I just simply said, 'you're fired, '" Duterte said.

DILG undersecretaries John Castriciones, Jesus Hinlo, and Emilie Padilla have reportedly called on Duterte to remove Sueno, whom they accused of collecting grease money from illegal gambling rings through his grandson, a police official identified only as "Senior Superintendent Sintin". There were reports however that another ranking official is set to be axed by Duterte.

He said that he gave them another chance to reform, considering he does not want infighting in the organization.

Sueno is the second major Cabinet official to be dismissed due to allegations of corruption.

Responding to the claims of corruption, Sueno said that the accusations stemmed from the deputies' bitterness over their curtailed powers.

He also said his conscience was clear and he was willing to face any investigation.

If the President was really against corruption, Trillanes said Duterte would have already fired Tourism Promotions Board chief Cesar Montano and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, both of whom were linked to anomalies and alleged bribery.

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