Aquino eyes ‘nice, quiet’ job for PunoBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines—After accepting Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno’s resignation, President Benigno Aquino is considering a “nice, quiet” job for him in government, Puno himself disclosed this Tuesday night.
Puno, who appeared in an interview over Solar Nightly News, said the President mentioned about another possible post for him when they talked Monday.
“If you still want to work for the government, I will try to look for a nice, quiet job for you,” Puno quoted Aquino as saying.
Asked by the news anchor if he was open to the President’s offer, the resigned official said, “Yes!”
But in the meantime, Puno said he would return to farming and probably help train the policemen once he puts up his dream firing range in his farm.
“This is one way of giving something for our police. I will train them and give them the facilities,” he said.
Puno announced his resignation Tuesday, saying he wanted to give deceased Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s replacement, Manuel Roxas, a free hand in running the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Puno, known as a close friend of Aquino, also denied accusations that he had tried to tamper with Robredo’s documents a day after the secretary died in the plane crash off Masbate on August 18.
“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.
There were speculations that Puno tried to obtain from the residence and office of Robredo some documents that might link him to anomalies.
Aquino, however, later defended Puno, saying he had instructed the undersecretary to secure Robredo’s offices immediately following the plane crash at sea.
Despite Aquino leaping to Puno’s defense, critics had accused the undersecretary of other wrongdoing and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago announced she would hold Senate hearings into Puno’s official actions on Friday.
Robredo, a popular reformist advocate who was in charge of the Philippine National Police and the DILG, is believed to have been probing possible corruption and collusion in the department.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Puno’s resignation “would put to rest all these accusations… that undersecretary Puno is close to the President and is being coddled.” He added: “That’s not true.”
Puno, meanwhile, showed no regrets on his decision to step down from his post. In fact, he said he sees it as an opportunity to spend more time with the President, his longtime friend.
“We’d see each other more often and we will be partners and we will be more shooting buddies now,” Puno said. “And we will shoot together.” With Agence France-Presse
Originally posted: 11:17 pm | Tuesday, September 11th, 2012