MANILA, Philippines – The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) employee who supposedly penned the complaint against Dionisio Santiago that was sent to President Rodrigo Duterte denied authoring the document.
Priscilla "Baby" Herrera told Rappler on Tuesday, November 21, that she had nothing to do with the letter supposedly written and signed by her.
"I didn't write that letter and [I have] no motive to do such [an] evil thing," she said.
Herrera, currently an executive assistant at the DDB, sent Rappler her DDB identification card to verify her identity.
Her last name was also misspelled in the letter, dated October 25, as "Hererra" instead of Herrera.
Herrera said her signature in the letter was forged. She is asking the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to look into the forgery.
"I sought the help of CIDG this morning for the examination, comparison of our specimen signature," she said.
LOOK: Complaint about former DDB chief Santiago sent to Pres. Duterte. It accuses him of going on 'junkets' in Austria, United States. pic.twitter.com/ih15ydDHqb — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) November 20, 2017
Herrera's admission calls into doubt the authenticity of the complaint Malacañang said is among the reasons why Duterte decided to fire Santiago.
Later on, however, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque claimed the complaint was only incidental and that it was not among the reasons for Santiago's exit.
DDB Employees' Union president Jo Ann Desiderio earlier denied her group sent the letter, according to a GMA report.
Roque, asked if the Office of the President verified the letter, said the process had been "overtaken" by Santiago's resignation.
An Office of the President source said they do not know if the letter was faked.
Santiago denies accusations
Santiago also denied the allegations in the complaint.
He told Rappler on Tuesday that the "mistress" mentioned in the document is a "psychologist" and a member of the secretariat committee which was part of his delegation to conferences in Austria and the United States to study new "trends" in drug rehabilitation.
Far from bringing along only "favorite" DDB employees, he said many of his travel companions were not chosen by him but by a "travel committee" he himself had formed to avoid "whimsical" selection of delegation members.
As for the claim that he accepted a mansion from the late Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Santiago said, "I don't even know him personally."
The TV5 report mentioned in the complaint as a report making the accusation was actually referring to General Leocadio Santiago as the one who received the mansion, not the former DDB chief.
Despite Malacañang's belief in what the former DDB chief says is a grossly inaccurate complaint, Santiago has no plans of taking the issue up with Duterte.
He respects that the President has every right to fire him for whatever reason.
"Whatever reason they have [to fire me], that's up to them. What can I do about that?" he said. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.