ABELLA ON LAVINA’S RESIGNATION: No room for tainted officials in Duterte gov’t—Palace

President Rodrigo Duterte and Peter Tiu Laviña.

“Public service must brook no hint of corruption.”

This was what Malacañang has to say on the resignation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s former campaign spokesman Peter Tiu Laviña as administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) amid allegations 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,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Thursday.

“Mr. Laviña may have his own take on this matter, as he is entitled to his opinion, but 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.

“Only then can we move forward, towards a well functioning government; towards a nation worthy of our people. And a people worthy of the nation,” he added.

On Wednesday, Laviña announced that he “quietly left the government” amid allegations that he had asked money from NIA contractors, which he denied, to spare Duterte from embarrassment.

Reports surfaced that Duterte, in a meeting with labor groups on Monday evening, said he had fired Laviña. But the presidential palace, through the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, said Laviña tendered his irrevocable resignation, which the President accepted.

“We deeply regret the resignation of Mr. Peter Laviña as head of the National Irrigation Administration. He has been a strong supporter of the President as early as the latter’s years as Mayor of Davao City. In his various capacities in the public and private sectors, he has consistently demonstrated his loyalty to his principal,” Abella added.

Laviña was appointed NIA head last November. Prior to his stint as campaign spokesman, Laviña served as a special assistant to then Davao City Mayor Duterte and an elected councilor of the city. IDL