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Duterte fires FDA chief Puno over alleged corruption

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno | Courtesy: PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno for alleged corruption, the Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced this during a press briefing on Thursday by reading a letter signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed to Puno.

“Dear Ms. Puno, please be advised that upon the instruction of the President, your appointment as director general of the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Heath is hereby terminated effective immediately,” the letter dated May 15 stated.

“This is in line with the President’s continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption, and to ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust,” the letter added.

Puno was also directed to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in her possession to the office of the Undersecretary for Health regulation of the Department of Health “to ensure uninterrupted delivery of public service.”

Puno was appointed by Duterte as head of the FDA in 2016.

READ: 3 cops killed, 3 others wounded in Camarines Sur ambush

She survived an ambush in October 2018 allegedly staged by the New People’s Army in Lupi, Camarines Sur.

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Sacked FDA chief Puno denies corruption allegations

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno on Friday (May 17) denied accusations she is involved in graft and corruption.

Puno made the statement after she was fired on Thursday by President Rodrigo Duterte over corruption allegations.

READ: Duterte fires FDA Chief Puno over alleged corruption

She stressed that she has not been a subject of nor made aware of being investigated for corruption, but stands ready to face any charges in any forum.

“I take exception to the mention of so-called ‘corruption allegations’ because I am clueless as what these are. I have not been charged in any legal proceedings nor am I aware of any official investigation being undertaken in relation to corruption involving me,” she said in a statement.

“I served as the Director General of the FDA for two years and 10 months with complete honesty, diligence, dedication, and loyalty,” she added.

Duterte ordered Puno’s immediate termination as FDA head on May 15.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced this to media on Thursday and even read the letter signed by Executive Salvador Medialdea addressed to Puno.

Panelo, quoting from the letter, said the decision to fire Puno is “in line with the president’s continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption and to ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust.”

Panelo, however, did not offer any more details on the allegations against Puno.

The former FDA official confirmed she received the letter on Thursday afternoon, adding that she has accepted the president’s decision without any ill-feelings.

“As a presidential appointee, I serve at the pleasure of the President and therefore I accept his decision without any ill-feelings,” she said.

“I would like to thank the President for the opportunity and honor of having served the Food and Drug Administration as its Director General,” she added.

Puno noted in her statement that during her tenure, the FDA earned three ISO certifications and recognition as the fifth ASEAN nation member country whose regulatory standards were so accredited.

“I leave the FDA with a clear conscience and what I believe to be a clean record,” she said.

Puno was appointed by Duterte as head of the FDA in 2016.

READ: 3 cops killed, 3 others wounded in Camarines Sur ambush

She survived an ambush in October 2018 allegedly staged by the New People’s Army in Lupi, Camarines Sur. Her security detail was killed while three others were wounded.

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PH recalls envoys to Canada over missed trash shipment deadline

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Tons of garbage from Canada were illegally exported to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered the recall of Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada after the Canadian government failed to meet the May 15 deadline on shipping back tons of garbage it sent to the Philippines several years ago.

In a post on his Twitter account on Thursday, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the recall order has been issued and the Philippine envoys to Canada are expected to be back in the country in a day or so.

“At midnight last night, letters for the recall of our ambassador and consuls to Canada went out. They are expected here in a day or so. Canada missed the May 15 deadline,” he said.

Locsin said the reason for the recall is to “maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

The DFA secretary said the move was triggered by Canada’s failure to show up at a meeting with the Bureau of Customs, as relayed to him by the Department of Finance (DOF).

“That the government may consider a 2 to 3 week delay DOES NOT EXTEND THE DEADLINE. Our diplomatic presence in Canada shall be de minimis,” he said.

“At the Japanese enthronement ceremony, DOF informed me that Canada did not show up at a meeting with Customs and that was the trigger,” he added.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there might be a slight delay in shipping out the Canadian garbage due to the processing of documents but he made no mention of any plans to recall envoys when he gave updates about the exported trash.

“According to the DFA, there might be a slight delay because of processing, documents are being prepared so it might take a little longer. The important thing is, they are taking it,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing.

He had then surmised that the shipment of the trash might begin in “one to two weeks.”

The Canadian government earlier agreed to pay for the expenses in shipping out all 69 waste containers it had dumped in the Philippines in 2013 following a stern warning issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

READ: Finally! Canada agrees to shoulder return of trash shipment

The President had warned he would declare “war” against Canada if it failed to move its illegally exported trash. He was referring to 103 containers of Canadian mixed wastes that arrived in Manila in batches from 2013 to 2014.

READ: Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

Ottawa earlier assured Manila it is working on resolving the issue “to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.” (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte siblings proclaimed winners in Davao polls

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

(L-R) Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Paolo “Pulong” Duterte and Sebastian “Baste” Duterte | Courtesy : Respective Facebook accounts

Three of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children were proclaimed as winners of the 2019 midterm elections in Davao City.

Based on the report of UNTV News and Rescue’s C-NEWS correspondent, Janice Ingente on Wednesday, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will serve another term following her landslide victory.

She garnered 580,058 votes in the mayoral race while her sole opponent, independent candidate Jun Marcellones only got 4,262 based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tally.

Sara will serve along with her brother, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte who ran unopposed as vice mayor.

Meanwhile, their eldest brother, former vice mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte secured a seat in the House of Representatives representing the first district of the city. He got 197,024 votes against his rivals, independent candidates Rex Labis and Susan Uyanguren who garnered 2,121 and 5,118 votes, respectively.

The three siblings were proclaimed at past 8 p.m. on Tuesday. However, they were not present during the proclamation and their lawyers received their certificates of canvass on their behalf.

In a Facebook post, Paolo expressed his gratitude for those who supported and believed in him.

“Sa mga katawhan sa unang distrito sa Davao, dako akong pasalamat sa inyong pagpili kanako isip inyong representante sa Kongreso,” he said in a visayan dialect.

(To the people of the first District of Davao, thank you very much for choosing me as your representative to the Congress)

“I am truly humbled and at the same time honored for your trust and support in me,” he added.

Sa mga katawhan sa unang distrito sa Davao, dako akong pasalamat sa inyong pagpili kanako isip inyong representante sa…

Posted by Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte – Official on Tuesday, 14 May 2019

He also thanked his family, friends and volunteers who helped him win his bid for a congressional seat.

“Dako sab akong pasalamat sa mga volunteers, sa akong mga higala, ug sa akong pamilya sa ilang dedikasyon ug kakugi aron iduso ang ating tinguha nga makatabang kita sa kalambuan sa unang distrito sa atong mahal nga siyudad,” he said.

(I would also like to thank our volunteers, my friends, and my family for their dedication and determination to push for our goal to help in improving the city’s first district)

“Makalaom kamo nga ako dili lamang inyong tingog ug kusog sa Kongreso kundili kaabaga usab ni President Rody Duterte aron makab-ot niini ang iyang mga plano ug pangandoy para sa nasud,” he added.

(You can be assured that I will not only serve as your voice in Congress but also a helping shoulder for President Rody Duterte in order to realize his plans and dreams for the nation)

It would be the first in Congress for Paolo, who quit his vice mayoral post in 2017 after his name was implicated in a Senate inquiry on the smuggling of illegal drugs in the country.

While this will be the third and last term for Sara, it would be the first time for her brother Sebastian to join the political arena.

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