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Was Duterte wrong in firing Sueno? White paper claims 3 undersecretaries wanted to profit from federalism plan

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Did President Rodrigo Duterte fire former Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno by mistake over corruption allegations?

Doubts over Duterte’s decision have surfaced following the release of a supposed confidential memorandum detailing the alleged shenanigans of three undersecretaries of the Department of Interior and Local Government: Jesus Hinlo, Emily Padilla and John Castriciones.

The six-page document, which was reportedly sent by “concerned citizens and employees” to Duterte, claimed that the three undersecretaries plotted to have Sueno removed early in his term and wanted to profit from their own posts in any way possible.

Of all the rackets the undersecretaries engaged in, the paper claimed the worse was their request for Sueno to give them the P50-million fund for federalism without any documents.

The officials even lowered their request to P20 million after Sueno refused.

It was Sueno’s response that made Hinlo, Padilla and Castriciones determined to have him fired since “he can’t be made to play along with them,” the memo read.

Hinlo, the paper claimed, was also engaged in “money making enterprises” involving the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology such as “skimming off prisoners’ meal allowance, promotion for sale and reassignment of personnel.” He also had links to alleged drug lord Edgar “Tolikoy” Mellama.

Sueno reportedly confronted Hinlo about the allegations against him, which the latter denied. The rumors became so persistent that the former Interior Secretary was forced to tell the undersecretary sometime in January that he had to be fired.

Padilla, meanwhile, reportedly undertook activities related to promoting federalism even when she had no authority to do so. She has also yet to account for the expenses she and her staff incurred for these endeavors.

Castriciones reportedly “appointed himself” as Undersecretary of Finance, Legal and Administration even if he lacked official papers.

“[He] took visitors in, had an office, hired his staff, demanded vehicles from the department, like a legally appointed undersecretary,” the paper said.

The three undersecretaries reportedly joined forces to have Sueno removed by claiming that the DILG’s multimillion-peso ourchase of firetrucks was riddled with irregularities even if the contract was signed during the Aquino administration.

Duterte repeatedly mentioned the pricey firetrucks and Sueno’s inability to justify the purchase as the reason why he was fired.

The entities behind the confidential memo appealed to the President to fire Hinlo, Padilla and Castriciones to stop the corruption within the DILG.