No ‘downgrade’ in sanction against Llamas – Palace

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MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino did not “downgrade” the sanctions imposed on Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas from suspension to admonition, a Palace official said. 

“There is no truth to allegations that the [Office of the Executive Secretary or OES] recommended suspension and was downgraded to an admonition,”  Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday, February 5.

Valte said the case of Llamas, who was photographed buying P2,000-worth of pirated DVDs at a Quezon City mall on January 25, was reviewed by the Executive Secretary’s office  as part of the process to determine the “proper sanction.”

Llamas has already apologized for what he did and the “unitended embarassment this may have caused the administration.”

In his memorandum to Llamas, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said that Llama’s act “is not a violation of law, the impropriety of the action is without question” and “is not act expected from a public officer.”

“However, taking into account your expression of ‘deep regret’ and your tender of an apology, you are hereby formally admonished and given a firm reminded that you should, in the future, observe a higher degree of circumspection and discretion even with regard ti your private, non-official conduct,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa said that as a public official, Llamas should “act at all times with a high sense of prudence and propriety so as to avoid any possibility, however remote, that your personal conduct may inadvertently result in an erosion of the public’s faith and confidence in the administration.”

“Likewise, your pledge to henceforth to ‘exercise greater care and prudence’ is expected, as any future incident of a similar nature will have to be dealt with more severely,” Ochoa said.

Llamas, who also figured in another controversy last October 2011 for carrying high-powered guns in his car, has been considered a ‘liability’ to President Aquino. –

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