Malacañang on complaint vs ex-DDB Chief Santiago: We never said it was verified

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — After publicizing a complaint which accused former Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chair Dionisio Santiago of going on unnecessary junkets and receiving favors from an alleged narcopolitician, Malacañang stressed it never said the allegations were true.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday emphasized he did not say the allegations are gospel truths.

Roque's clarification comes a day after he provided the media a copy of the supposed complaint by the DDB Employees Union. The DDB employee undersigned in the supposed complaint has denied drafting the letter.

"I was very clear, if there are allegations in a complaint, we did not say they are the truth and that is why I understand, General Santiago was somehow hurt. But I emphasize, we have never alleged that they are gospel truth, they are allegations, which I'm sure, he can easily dispute," Roque said during a media briefing.

Roque said Santiago, who has also denied the allegations, was not fired because of the complaint.

"Hindi po siya tinanggal dahil doon sa letter complaint. Nilabas po ang letter complaint upang ipakita lamang na bagama't ang dahilan ay dahil doon sa mga sinabi sa Mega Rehab facility, eh meron na ring complaint laban kay General Santiago. Hindi po namin sinabi na katotohanan ang lahat ng sinabi ng complaint."

However, on Monday, Roque was quoted as saying, "He (Santiago) was also let go because of complaints that General Santiago was using taxpayers' money for junkets abroad... There were also complaints that General Santiago may have accepted consideration from major drug players."

Verified complaint?

It is unclear what steps were taken by the President's office to verify the complaint but Roque stressed such complaints, especially those pertaining to appointed officials who serve at the pleasure of the President, don't need to be verified for the President to consider firing them.

"It's been overtaken by events because the resignation came about," says Roque when asked if steps were taken to verify the allegations in the letter sent last October.

He added "If at all, maybe what we're stressing is perhaps there was additional displeasure because of the pendency of the complaint."

Roque says Santiago's case reflects President Duterte's zero tolerance against corruption.