Aquino confirms Puno out of DILG

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino on Sunday, September 9, confirmed that he plans to replace Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno, possibly with current Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome.

Aquino confirmed this at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok, Russia.

He said he will remove Puno out of the DILG, and will ask him if he will be interested in another government post.

Aquino also said he asked Bartolome to consider leaving his current post before March 16, 2013 - the date of his scheduled mandatory retirement - so he could replace Puno at the DILG.

The move would also give the next PNP chief time to adjust to the position prior to the 2013 election, ABS-CBN reported.

There is no definite timeframe for Puno's removal from the DILG, with the President saying they will wait until incoming Interior chief Mar Roxas is confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.

This comes after the President confirmed that he ordered his close friend to secure Secretary Jesse Robredo's office, but not his condominium, after the secretary died in a plane crash last August 18.

The President's announcement confirms a Rappler report published Tuesday, September 4, that Puno was already on his way out of the DILG.

Sources told Rappler that the move to ease the undersecretary out of the department started even before Robredo died in the plane crash.

Puno, a former gun supplier, has reportedly been the subject of various complaints that eventually reached the President. Bartolome was reportedly then being persuaded by emissaries to replace Puno.

If Bartolome decides to finish his term until March 2013, the government cannot appoint a permanent replacement for him due to the election ban on appointments that would be in effect by then. - Rappler.com