New post for Puno?

October 11, 2010

Delon Pocalla and Christina Mendez
Philippine Star
October 11, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino hinted yesterday that Interior and Local Government  Undersecretary Rico Puno could be transferred to another post following reports that there is an ongoing conflict between him and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

“There are certain goals I have in mind. Either it’s achieved or I take corrective actions,” the President told Palace reporters in a chance interview.

“Something like that (bickering) is not a proper behavior for members of the Cabinet. We have no time for intramurals,” he added.

Last Friday in Isabela, Mr. Aquino disclosed that his latest meeting with Puno was not that smooth sailing anymore, as he had pointed out to him several errors he committed when he attended the Senate hearing on jueteng.

The President hinted that Puno, a very close friend and shooting buddy, also had skills other than firing, as he is a product of UP Los Baños where he obtained his degree in agriculture. This could mean a transfer of assignment.

“The last time I talked to him (Puno), I pointed out so many errors, how he answered, how he prepared for the questions. I told him to do some things which he entrusted to certain other people and these people did not carry through,” he said.

“We are uniting our nation, so the focus should be how to fix it and put it in order,” he said, adding internal squabbling is the last thing his government needs at this point.

Mr. Aquino was about to meet the two last night or this morning.

“I will thresh out all of these things with them. Hopefully, we will be able to find a remedy to the situation,” he said.

Mr. Aquino begged off from answering whether either of the two would have to stay in the DILG, advising Palace reporters to just wait for his official announcement this week. He said he does not want to preempt the meeting with the two officials.

“Both of them are under fire. They have been under fire for quite sometime already. Sometimes things have worsened, and perhaps because it was not taken in the proper context,” the President said.


Crack the whip

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan urged the President to intervene into the growing factions within his administration after Puno revealed that there were five factions who wanted him out of the department.

“P-Noy must crack the whip and tell all those surrounding him that given the serious problems facing the country, without unity there is no way his administration can succeed. I know he has it in him to do so, and now is the time to do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy,” he said.

Pangilinan earlier cautioned the administration that factions could weigh down and overshadow its performance. He appealed to the President and his allies that they need to work together despite their personal differences to help this country move forward.

“My appeal to those who support P-Noy is that we need to learn to work with one another even if we dislike each other. It’s about time we acknowledge the existence of all these factions and recognize the need to end it,” he said.

“It will have to start from the top, and I know the President will deliver and act to ensure that all his men will finally march to the same drumbeat,” the senator said.

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