Evasco: Laviña resigned to spare Duterte of corruption allegations

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Peter Laviña (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Rumors of corruption still hound the resignation of the former Irrigation administrator.

In a statement yesterday, Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco said there are no formal complaints against former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Peter Tiu Laviña although there are rumors he favored and received money from some contractors.

Laviña tendered his irrevocable resignation Monday.

Evasco said there was no bidding for big-ticket projects when Laviña was NIA administrator.

"He resigned to spare Duterte from the intrigues of corruption being thrown at him," the cabinet secretary's statement read.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a statement, said public service must have no hint of corruption.

"That his departure from the NIA is tainted with allegations of wrongdoing, therefore, runs against the very core of this administration's values ...  (At) the end of the day, public service must brook no hint of corruption, any intimation of which must be faced squarely and without favor," Abella said.

Laviña, in a Facebook post, urged the public to support President Rodrigo Duterte even if it means being a "sacrificial lamb."

"Nation-building is a tall task in which each one should share for the common good! Let us help the President, bite the bullet for him or be a sacrificial lamb, if need be!" he said.

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Laviña was Duterte's campaign spokesperson before he was appointed NIA chief in November.

Evasco said the Executive will "redefine the meaning of 'public' and 'transparency' in bidding of government contracts" by ensuring wider public access in the conduct of big projects through online live streaming, conducting the bidding on a bigger venue to accommodate more observers and continuous updates on the NIA website.

Deputy Administrator Estrella Icasiano is now NIA officer-in-charge.