Former Social Security System (SSS) Commissioner Jose Gabriel ‘Pompee’ La Viña clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte did not accuse him of corruption. This is contrary to what Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has said on Friday, saying that the president decided not to renew his appointment because he was corrupted.
“Former Commissioner La Viña demanded a budget of P26 million to fund his ‘social media’ project with him as TV host. This was denied,” Spox Roque said, adding that after the latter’s request was denied, he again requested for a P1.6-million monthly budget for a media advertising program. Roque noted that the second request was also rejected.
“Again, let this be a reminder to all public officials that the President is serious in curbing corruption and has strong resolve to promote good governance,” Roque noted, who announced last Monday, February 12 that Duterte fired La Viña and SSS chairman Amado Valdez. Both of them had their appointments expired on June 30, 2017.
But on Saturday, February 17, La Viña wrote a lengthy post on his official Facebook page, saying that Roque’s statement is not the same as what Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Bong Go has told him. He also criticized the presidential spokesperson, saying that Roque’s accusations are mere black propaganda by some SSS officials.“The statement issued by Secretary Roque is the exact opposite of what Special Assistant to the President Bong Go relayed to me in a phone conversation on February 15, 2018 at around 11:47 in the morning.” La Viña wrote, saying that Go texted him telling to make a return call after he was not able to answer first call that morning.
“During our conversation, SAP Bong assured me that the President was not accusing me of corruption. He added that I was still considered a friend and that I should let him know if I were interested in a new position. I responded by requesting that my name is cleared first as this was more important to me than any position.” He added.
La Viña, who was part of Duterte’s social media team during the 2016 election campaign period, categorically denied proposing a P26M budget for a personal social media project and emphasized that the SSS Committee never came up with a concrete proposal which is why there was never anything to approve or disapprove. He also said he did not ask for the accreditation of 7 stockbrokers, contrary to Roque’ statements.
“It is clear that Secretary Roque’s accusations could not have come from the President. Being a prosecutor by background, he will not pass judgment without first verifying data supporting an accusation. It is clear from the very accusations that I did not steal a single cent or business opportunity that rightfully belongs to SSS members.” La Viña said further.
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