MANILA—Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Thursday claimed that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte had brought up plans to fire Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno as early as two weeks ago.
During a Kapihan press conference, Sotto said that he heard of the plan to fire Sueno from Pres. Duterte himself during a trip to Myanmar and Thailand last month but kept silent.
It was not until Monday (April 3) when Sueno was officially removed from his post for corruption allegations.
Sotto was part of the Philippine delegation that joined the President’s foreign trip.
“I knew that the DILG Secretary was going because I overheard it from the President himself during our foreign trip but I did not tell anyone,” Sotto said.
The senator said that there was information that has reached the President that he did not know but was certain he had lost trust in his Interior Secretary.
He explained that even if a cabinet official was fired based on allegations alone, it was Pres. Duterte’s prerogative as the appointing power.
“(The President) must believe in the saying “when there’s smoke, there’s fire. As far as the issue of firing is concerned, the mere fact that he has lost trust in this person, it’s his prerogative every time,” Sotto said.
“Even if he suddenly dislikes your face today, he can fire you,” he added.