Senate to invite Robredo widow on Puno probeBy Karen Boncocan
INQUIRER.net, Radyo Inquirer 990AM
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday said her Senate committee on revision of codes and laws would invite the wife of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to an inquiry this week.
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Santiago said the panel was planning to invite Robredo’s widow, Leni, to find out the real story behind the alleged visit of Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno to her late husband’s office and house in Quezon City.
“We will understand if they refuse our invitation,” the senator said in Filipino.
President Benigno Aquino III himself admitted that he ordered Puno to lockdown Robredo’s office. But the order, Malacanang said, did not cover the late secretary’s condominium unit.
Santiago noted how Robredo’s widow refused to allow Puno into her late husband’s condominium, adding that the wife also seemed wary of the undersecretary’s visit.
“Maliwanag na walang tiwala si Mrs. Robredo kay Mr. Puno [It is clear that Mrs. Robredo does not trust Mr. Puno].”
Aside from the widow, Santiago said the committee will also subpoena Puno and Philippine National Police chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome, who is being considered to be his replacement as undersecretary for peace and order.
Another issue the senator sought to examine was Puno’s sole control over police matters when undersecretaries, by law, are “mere delegates” of the cabinet official.
“The Secretary under the law has the power of control and supervision… and puder lang ng Undersecretary ay ayon lang sa ibinibigay sa kanya na mga trabaho ng Secretary. The Secretary merely delegates the Undersecretary,” said the senator.
“Pero itong si Puno ay iba. Binigyan siya ng eksklusibong kapangyarihan sa pulis. Ang Secretary pala ay walang pakialam sa pulis dahil hawak na niya, solo na niya [With Puno, the case is different as he was given exclusive power over police matters. The Secretary no longer handles these issues as [Puno] has been given full control over them],” she pointed out.
“That’s already an irregularity at the very least. It’s an anomaly actually at the worst,” Santiago added.
Instead of maintaining silence over his involvement in various controversies, Santiago said Puno should uphold transparency and explain.
For more of the interview, listen to Radyo Inquirer 990AM.