Duterte details firing Sueno, denies Marcos is next DILG chief

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President Duterte (L) lets go of long-time friend, DILG chief Sueno (R).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed on Tuesday that he did fire out Interior secretary Mike Sueno, and he explained why and how he did it.

"Last night I fired a Cabinet member in a full Cabinet meeting, because I did not like his answer because it was really a plain lie," Duterte said at the inauguration of the Metro Manila Crisis Monitoring and Management Center along Edsa-Guadalupe in Makati.

The President was referring to how he talked to Sueno about the DILG's purchase of ₱20-million worth of firetrucks from Austria, a deal which was supposedly tainted with irregularity according to a volunteer group that helped Duterte win the presidency.

Duterte said he lost his temper when Sueno told him that he was not informed of the DILG's legal opinion on the firetrucks purchase.

"Para siyang nakausap na… Parang ginagawa niya akong g--- [It's as if he was talking to, taking me for a fool]. 'So in that case, you might leave the room. You might leave the room because you're fired. I am dismissing you,'" the President recounted.

Duterte repeated that he had zero tolerance for corruption — and that he applied the same standards to himself and his family members.

"And if there is any child of mine, my daughter, my son, I have three children, if they get involved even in graft, I will step down. Masiguro ninyo 'yan [You can be sure of that]."

Duterte also extended his challenge again that if it could be proven that he had hundreds of millions of pesos in any of his bank account, he would immediately step down.

Related: Duterte: 92 appointees fired because of irregularities

The former Davao City mayor had recently sacked persons close to him, like two fraternity brothers at the Immigration bureau and a long-time friend at the National Irrigation Administration.

No, it's not Bongbong

Shortly before the crisis management event, the President told the media that he was "still scouting" for Sueno's replacement.

When asked if Bongbong Marcos could take the DILG post, Duterte said this was unlikely because of an electoral protest on the vice presidency.

"(Bongbong) would have abandoned his appeal. Mabitawan niya. If you're appointed to a position, mawawalan siya ng, wala na, for intents and purposes, wala na."

[Translation: He would be abandoning, letting go (of his electoral protest). If you're appointed to a position, (the appeal) would be gone/dropped.]

The question was posed to Duterte amid talks that Marcos was being groomed as the next Interior chief.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes had earlier said that Sueno's removal was just "a convenient excuse" to make way for somebody who would be taking the post next month.

A legal adviser of Vice President Leni Robredo, had also said that sacking Sueno might be "a prelude to the appointment of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos as DILG Secretary."

"Especially since it comes so close to the end of the election ban," Barry Gutierrez said.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio and Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.