Puno says he only followed Aquino order to secure Robredo office, homeBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno finally broke his silence against allegations that he tried to obtain certain documents from the office and house of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
In a statement he issued, Puno detailed his activities starting on the night of August 18 as he was about to fly from Cebu to Manila, DILG official said he received a call from President Benigno Aquino III ordering him to secure the offices of the late Secretary.
Robredo’s plane plunged into the waters off Masbate in the afternoon of August 18. At that time Robredo and two others were considered missing.
“When I was about to board, the President called and instructed me to secure the offices of Secretary Robredo. I relayed the instructions to Superintendent Oliver Tanseco, deputy chief of the Office of Internal Security in Secretary Robredo’s office,” Puno said.
Puno said he arrived in Manila at 10:30 p.m. and an hour after proceeded to directly to the PNP Director-General’s Quarters. Among those present, he said, were Tanseco and Ms. “White House” Joan de la Cruz, a member of Robredo’s staff.
“The President called again and I reported the offices have been secured,” said Puno.
At 9:00 a.m. the following day, Puno said he supervised the sealing of Robredo’s office at the Department of Interior and Local Government accompanied by Tanseco, S/Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, Chief Inspector Apollo Togonon and other security officers of Robredo.
At 9:30 a.m., Puno said he was informed by Tanseco that there were still documents inside the Robredo’s condominium unit.
Puno said at about 10:00 a.m., he led the Robredo team to secure the Secretary’s condominium unit but left only after about 20 minutes.
Puno said he opted to keep his silence because as Undersecretary for Peace and Order in the DILG, he said he was entrusted with duties and responsibilities that involve strict confidence, security and protocol.
“Violating the confidential nature of my duties may expose people to danger or jeopardize critical operations. Hence, I am duty-bound to act with restraint and circumspection, even when subjected to personal attacks in the mass media,” he said.
“This is why I have opted not to react to the speculative accusations that have been hurled against me by some media organizations,” he added.