MANILA, Philippines?Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said on Tuesday he would like to thresh out his problems with Undersecretary Ric E. Puno, get over the controversies between them and go back to work.
After a talk with President Benigno Aquino III Sunday night, Robredo said he and Undersecretary Rico Puno have agreed to talk more and work on their differences. The last three months had seen them at odds over the issue of ?jueteng? (illegal-numbers game) and police supervision ? especially since the August 23 hostage crisis ? but he said it wouldn't have been such a big deal if not for ?the media and the public.?
?We met yesterday [Monday] morning and again, I think there is an agreement that we need to communicate more,? Robredo told reporters Tuesday morning.
?At the start, we always talked, but as we went on, two things: we got busy, we had some concerns... So we had less and less [time],? he said.
The two reportedly had a rift after Robredo implicated Puno in jueteng bribes. Puno, the President?s shooting buddy, accused Robredo of instigating a campaign against him.
?To be very candid about it, we would have problems at the DILG [Department of Interior and Local Govenrments]. You know, this has been magnified by the media and by the public. Our problem in the organization happens in any organization. But because there were controversial issues, it blew up,? said Robredo.
He said he and Puno have agreed to better manage their differences adding: ?I think it would be more difficult if you had the same take on everything.?
Asked by one reporter if he would give way and step down, Robredo replied yes but clarified that President Aquino has reassured him of his trust.
?As I?ve said, if I can no longer make a contribution, I think there is no sense in staying. That?s why we leave it to the judgment of our principal,? he said.
?The President has already decided that it's important that we work together. Remember that we're not doing this for ourselves or only for him. We're doing this for a higher purpose: to serve the country,? he said.
Calling the early months of the new administration a ?phase-in? period, Robredo said he would focus on fine-tuning systems within the DILG, particularly those relating to peace and order and DILG's internal management system.
?I'm focusing on the systems and if given the opportunity, I think I'd rather work on the systems rather than on the personalities. The improvement of the systems will benefit not only Metro Manila but also benefit the [DILG] field offices as well, and we'll continue to work on it,? he said.