Robredo takes Senator Santiago's 'equation' as a challenge to disprove

September 24, 2010 12:34 pm 

MANILA, Sept. 24 – Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo is taking the “equation” made by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that DILG plus Philippine National Police (PNP) equals “jueteng” as a challenge for government authorities to disprove.

Robredo stressed that the present administration is barely two months in office which is too early to make any definite conclusion about the allegations raised by the lady senator.

”First of all, I think, while there may be some basis, at this point in time we’re in the office for just two months. It’s premature to make this conclusion,” said Robredo, who was spared by Santiago in her list of personalities involved in jueteng.

”If we’re able to do something then we’re able to prove that the equation is not really true but if we allow it to proliferate then it can be confirmed that the equation is true,” said Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government service.

”I am denying the allegations because as far as I am concerned you know from where I came from, from Kaya Natin, and to DILG, my position in the numbers game has been very clear,” said Robredo, who was credited for keeping Naga City jueteng-free during his tenure as mayor.

Kaya Natin is a group of politicians who are against the proliferation of jueteng and waged an all-out war in their areas to eradicate the illegal numbers game. Among the members of the group are former Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio and former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca.

For his part, PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo quickly dismissed Santiago’s equation as not applicable to him.

“On the equation of Senator Santiago, I must say that in my case, my appointment as PNP chief was not because of my closeness to anybody, much less the DILG Secretary. Therefore, the rest of the equation will not compute,” said Bacalzo.

In her privilege speech last Wednesday, Santiago came out with her own list of jueteng operators and their alleged protectors in the government.

Santiago tagged Atong Ang, Tony Santos, Danny Soriano, Aging Lisan and Bong Pineda as the top five jueteng operators in the country.

The lady senator also alleged that former DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno and erstwhile PNP chief retired Director General Jesus Verzosa get P300 million a year from jueteng operators.

Prior to that, retired Dagupan-Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz also revealed his own list of operators of jueteng and government personalities allegedly taking jueteng payola,

Among the alleged protectors of jueteng operators is DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno. (PNA) scs/MM

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