PCOO official apologizes to Senate but denies drinking alcohol during session
MANILA, Philippines — An official of a printing office attached to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) who was censured for “exhibiting improper etiquette” apologized to the Senate but denied “drinking alcohol” during a previous session, saying he was only having a “sip of cola.”
On Tuesday, senators resumed discussions on the proposed 2022 budget of the PCOO, which was deferred on Monday after senators observed Dominic Tajon, the sales and marketing manager of the APO Production Unit o the PCOO, “drinking alcohol.”
Tajon attended the deliberations online.
“I profusely apologize to the honorable Senate and humbly beg for its utmost compassion, liberality, and consideration…and excuse me for the perceived disrespectful conduct during the said session,” Tajon said in a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
The content of the letter was read by Sen. Richard Gordon, who was tasked to sponsor the PCOO budget on the floor.
‘Sip of cola’
In explaining himself, Tajon denied he was drinking liquor during Monday’s deliberations.
“I vehemently deny imbibing liquor or any other fermented drink during the session. Suspicion could have been made of such inappropriate behavior when I had a sip of cola in a water goblet,” Tajon said.
“I could not have done such an unethical act knowing that I am participating in a session before the honorable Senate…I would not do such a reprehensible act during a plenary session,” his letter further read.
Aside from the alleged alcohol drinking, Tajon was also called out for “moving around.”
“The constant movement observed by this honorable Senate during the session was due to the fact that I had to transfer my connection from my cellular phone to my Ipad because the session had started when I was driving home,” Tajon explained in his letter.
“When I arrived home, I then utilized my Ipad to take part in the session,” he added, noting that a member of his household may have been captured on camera when he was “securing and operating” his device.
To end, Tajon assured the Senate that he would “commit to be more circumspect and cautious” in his actions to prevent “any perception of unethical and unprofessional behavior.”
“Rest assured that I would not make the same mistake again. I sincerely apologize to the honorable Senate for the disruption and inconvenience I may have caused in the subject plenary session,” he added.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andara, in a separate letter also read by Gordon, said the agency had started “conducting an investigation into the display of inappropriate attire” of some of its personnel during Monday’s deliberations — including Tajon’s alleged alcohol drinking — provide clarification on the matter.
“Should he be found culpable of any wrongdoing, we will enforce pertinent disciplinary actions” Andanar said.
“Any lapse in appropriate conduct will never be condoned as we in the PCOO and our attached agencies are committed to the highest standards of professionalism in all instances,” he added.
Andanar also extended the PCOO’s apologies to the Senate.
“In this juncture, we reflect our sincere assurance that any such behavior…will never be deliberately observed by any of our personnel in any situation as it is detrimental to PCOO, its attached agencies, our core values, and government partners,” he added.
The PCOO budget was eventually approved by the Senate, signaling the end of the period of interpellations on the 2022 national budget, which lasted for over a week.
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