MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Will they be reinstated or shown the door?
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy on Monday, August 14, appealed to Malacañang to decide soon on the fate of 3 undersecretaries who have been the subject of employees’ corruption complaints.
Undersecretaries Emily Padilla, Jesus Hinlo, and John Castriciones have been placed on “floating” status ever since April 2017, before the Palace received a letter from DILG officials and employees, alleging corruption committed by the 3. The officials denied the claims.
Their tasks have since been delegated to other officials, but the 3 continue to receive salaries.
“We have presented the situation” to the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Cuy told reporters, and the department is “just awaiting their advice” on whether the undersecretaries’ responsibilities will be permanently assigned to other officials.
The 3 undersecretaries were stripped of responsibilities by then Secretary Ismael Sueno, but they nevertheless succeeded in convincing President Rodrigo Duterte to fire Sueno instead for honoring a fire truck purchase contract from the past administration.*
Cuy cannot restore the authority of the 3 because he is only an officer-in-charge, barred from exercising”discretionary powers.” Sueno’s replacement, General Eduardo Año, has been unable to assume his role in the DILG because he is needed at the armed forces to solve the Marawi crisis.
Despite this, Cuy gave assurances the DILG is “functioning,” as the tasks of the 3 undersecretaries have been delegated to other executives of the department:
- Hinlo’s job of promoting public safety is divided between Cuy and new Assistant Secretary Nestor Quinsay, who oversees the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
- Padilla’s job of pushing forward federalism was given to the Local Government Academy, which Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing oversees.
- Castriciones’ job of overseeing drug rehabilitation centers is also given to Densing, and his mandate to head the department’s operations is given to Cuy.
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, Rappler reported that the the 3 undersecretaries were placed on “floating” status after the Palace received the DILG letter. The officials were stripped of their responsibilities before the letter was sent. This has been corrected.