The editorial titled “Que Rico!” asked: Why did Undersecretary Rico E. Puno, with three others, try to enter the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s private quarters in a Quezon City condo? (Inquirer, 9/10/12)
President Aquino himself answered that: “Well, he probably thought there were also some documents there that needed to be secured.” It’s true that Puno went to the condo along with police officers, but apparently not to seize incriminating documents, only to make sure that the place was secured. Otherwise, why would he and the team mill around the condo’s front office, as shown by TV footage? If Puno intended to raid the place, he would have brought along a SWAT team armed to the teeth, and shot their way into Robredo’s unit.
It’s becoming clear to me that Puno is a victim of a hatchet job aimed at eliminating him from the Department of the Interior and Local Government. And guess who’s going to benefit from Puno’s relief from the post?
“Untouchable” was how the editorial described Puno. Well, as the President has decided to relieve him from the DILG, he’s not untouchable at all.
The Senate, particularly Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, summoned Puno to explain the allegations against him. This gave Puno the chance to clear his name, but given the inquisitorial nature of Senate investigations, we should have expected the grandstanding senator to make political capital out of this, at Puno’s expense. That makes newly minted Interior Secretary Mar Roxas very happy indeed.
—PIA AISSA PINEDA,