Puno steps down to give Roxas ‘free hand’By Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – Beleaguered Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno voluntarily stepped down from his post to give incoming Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas a free hand to form a new team.
“I believe that I have carried out my assigned duties to the best of my ability,” Puno said in a statement released in Malacañang Tuesday.
“Moving forward, I have resigned as DILG undersecretary to support the President’s decision to give a free hand to the incoming secretary in forming a new team,” he said.
“I wish to thank President Benigno Aquino for his trust and confidence in giving me an opportunity to serve our country and people.”
Puno’s resignation came following calls for him to quit his post after being embroiled in controversies.
Puno found himself in the limelight after he allegedly tried to obtain certain documents from the office and house in Quezon City of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash last August 18.
Puno is said to be under investigation by Robredo for his purported involvement in the alleged overpriced purchase of service pistols for the Philippine National Police.
At the Senate, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has called for an investigation of Puno, including the circumstances behind his appointment. She said Puno had the “unique, if not anomalous” authority to control the PNP during the incumbency of Robredo.
Santiago said she would like to “unmask” the influential person or group that exerted “severe pressure” on the President to appoint Puno as undersecretary and give him powers over the PNP that, according to her, were reserved only for the department secretary.