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Playing favorites: DILG Usecs accuse Sueno of giving perks to Mar Roxas’ proteges

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Days before he was fired by President Rodrigo Duterte, former Interior Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno has been accused by three of his subordinates of unduly boosting the powers of three undersecretaries who were said to be “proteges” of defeated Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas.

In a “confidential memorandum” sent to the President, Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretaries John Castriciones, Jesus Hinlo and Emilie Padilla said Sueno “has become more interested to pursue his selfish interests” in recent months.

As proof, they cited his supposed move to strengthen the powers of Undersecretary Austere Panadero, Assistant Secretary Esther Aldana and Head Executive Assistant Jo Leysa, whom they called “well known supporters and loyalists” of Roxas.

The undersecretaries said Sueno gave the three officials “all the powers to control all the projects and programs of the DILG” which have huge funding. He also reportedly gave them power to sign all documents.

Leysa, they said, “has more powers” than them even though she is not a presidential appointee.

In addition, Aldana allegedly functions as Assistant Secretary for both Finance and Administration.

The three undersecretaries, who are members of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), also accused Sueno of refusing to investigate allegations of corruption against Roxas, who also served as DILG Secretary under the Aquino administration.

Sueno also reportedly refused to look into the accusation that his wife was in charge of several contracts and transactions.

On Tuesday (April 4), presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that Sueno has been fired by Duterte during the Cabinet meeting the previous night.

The President, Abella said, cited “loss of trust and confidence” in deciding to sack Sueno from his post.