Duterte fires campaign spokesman as NIA chief

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The President mentions his decision to let go of Peter Laviña in a recent meeting with labor groups. The outgoing NIA chief says he ‘resigned.’

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Peter Laviña was reportedly sacked as head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Rappler learned on Wednesday, March 1.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself mentioned his decision to fire his campaign spokesman in a meeting with labor groups in Malacañang Monday night, February 27, sources who were in that meeting told Rappler.

Two sources from labor groups told Rappler that, during the meeting, Duterte said he had fired Laviña for allegedly receiving “40%.”

Duterte then went on to emphasize how he does not tolerate corruption even among those close to him.

‘Resigned’

Sought for comment, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr told Rappler, “He was not sacked but he tendered his resignation.”

Laviña confirmed this himself in a Facebook post past 10 am on Wednesday. He denied corruption allegations and said he decided to resign to spare the President from “these embarrassing stories.”

“I have been vilified in the past; my name used, abused and maligned. Recently, there had been efforts to discredit me again. There are rumors circulating that I have asked money from NIA contractors. These are not true!” he said.

“To spare the President from these embarrassing stories, particularly in these times of intensified attacks on him, I have quietly left government. I have neither personal vested interest in it nor ill intent towards NIA and the whole government, which we are trying to reform,” Laviña added.

Laviña maintained that he had never done anything to betray the trust of Duterte.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve the government, especially to President Duterte, whose trust I have never betrayed. I have proven in the past that one need not be in government to do public service or work for the common good. I will likely continue to do so in media, civil society and the business sector where I have been involved before,” he said.

Laviña served as presidential campaign spokesman for Duterte. He was also his former aide before becoming a Davao City councilor.

The President appointed him NIA head 3 months ago – in November last year.

Last December, Duterte sacked two fraternity brothers from their posts at the Bureau of Immigration for alleged corruption. Duterte’s style of dismissing them from service was to ask them to resign. – 

Source: Rappler..com