Ex-DILG Secretary Sueno: No due process in my dismissal

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Former Interior Secretary Ismael "Mike" Sueno said he was not given due process to explain his side on corruption claims against him, but he has no ill feelings towards President Rodrigo Duterte who fired him.

"I was not given a chance to answer, to clarify with the President... Feeling ko naman walang due process dahil he did not listen to me," said Sueno in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Also read: Duterte dismisses DILG Secretary Sueno due to 'loss of trust and confidence'

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Tuesday Duterte questioned Sueno during the Cabinet meeting on Monday. That's when the President also announced his decision on the fate of his key ally.

Sueno was accused of corruption activities for approving the release of payment for 76 fire trucks at P6.78 million per truck. The deal to purchase the trucks from Austria was sealed during the Aquino administration.

Sueno: No ill feelings towards Duterte

Despite claiming the President did not listen to him, Sueno is not harboring ill feelings towards Duterte.

As he bid the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) staff goodbye on Thursday, Sueno admitted he is emotionally suffering from his dismissal, to the point he has problems sleeping.

"I really suffered. I am ashamed. Kung ano ang suffering ko [my sufferings], I do it gladly, like Christ had done," Sueno said.

Also read: Duterte details firing Sueno, denies Marcos is next DILG chief

Sueno was fired due to "loss of trust and confidence." Abella has said Duterte looked into possible illegal public transactions that Sueno may have entered into, which formed part of the reason for his dismissal.

But the former secretary said he is not resentful towards the President.

"Hindi ako galit kay Presidente [I'm not angry at the President.]," Sueno said, even praising Duterte for having a strong will to rid his administration of corruption.

Sueno on accusers: I love them

Looking at the crowd sending him off, Sueno tried to look for his accusers — Undersecretaries John Castriciones, Jesus V. Hinlo, and Emily Padilla.

When he was not able to see them, he said he has forgiven them — even giving them praises.

"I had hatred. Kung magalit ka, hindi ka makakatulog. Aalisin ko na ang sama ng loob. I don't have hard feelings. Mahal ko sila," he said smiling.

[Translation: I had hatred. If you will get mad, you will have trouble sleeping. I will remove my ill feelings. I don't have hard feelings. I love them.]

Also read: Sueno did not follow DILG legal counsel - Interior Undersecretary

Sueno's dismissal came after the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Council (MRRD-NECC), in a confidential letter, accused Sueno of allegedly abusing his authority. A supposed confidential white paper allegedly from the three DILG execs addressed to the president surfaced, enumerating claims against Sueno — ranging from abuse of authority to corruption.

Sueno said he hopes the three undersecretaries could work well with new officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy, whom he described as efficient and an official with integrity.

Sueno a 'willing victim' to admin's war vs. corruption

In the fight against corruption, Sueno said he is a "willing victim" and a "sacrificial lamb."

Sueno even cited the case of National Irrigation Administration chief Peter Laviña — also a close Duterte ally from way back — who was also fired due to "mere suspicion" of corruption.

He added this only shows that despite being a friend of the President, no one in the government will be spared in its war against corruption.

He said he realized the complicated life of a top government official is not for him, citing many officials are after his "influential" post.

"Hindi ko kaya ang buhay dito.. Gladly ibibigay ko na lang sa kanila," he said.

[Translation: I am not fit for this kind of job... I will gladly give this post to them.]

Also read: Sacked Sueno respects Duterte's decision, but insists he's not corrupt

Despite the hurt, Sueno said he is hopeful he will survive this trying time because he knows he is innocent.

"I am happy where I am right now. I am thankful. Bumaba ako sa Malacañang, okay ang feeling ko. I am confident I am not corrupt. I am not guilty of their accusations," he said.

He added he is open to a possible investigation on his alleged corrupt activities.

"I am open to all investigations to clear my name. Mas gusto ko na imbestigahan nila ako. If they want to file a case sa akin, I will answer," he said.

Sueno said he is thankful for his dismissal, adding it may be a message from God to save him "before something more serious happens" to him.

President Duterte misinformed?

 

Duterte said on Thursday he "could never be misinformed" on his decision to let go of Sueno.

He said when he makes a move, he knows knows what he's doing.

He also reiterated his position that if government official linked to corruption — whether it it true or not — will be fired.