TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Tension heated up as Cagayan Provincial Information Officer Rogie Sending answered questions from ex-officio board member Maila Ting-Que on supposed “libelous” accusations against Ting-Que’s family.
In the provincial board’s regular session on Wednesday, November 22, Ting-Que confronted Sending on the distribution of copies of the anonymous letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte during the provincial management committee meeting on November 16.
Ting-Que said the letter, which was sent to the office of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, allegedly contains “unsubstantiated, unproven and unverified” information which linked her family to some people allegedly involved into illegal drug trade.
Sending, who was attending the session to defend his division’s budget, admitted to distributing copies of the unsigned letter to the department heads during the meeting chaired by Governor Mamba.
Sending also admitted the letter was part in the meeting’s agenda.
For her part, Ting-Que dismissed the accusations in the letter as “pure lies” and is only out to destroy their family’s reputation.
The board member also slammed Sending, saying she would take this as basis in her decision in reviewing the department’s proposed budget.
“Ito ay basehan po kung ako ay papayag na itong klaseng mga ganitong trabaho ay dapat pondohan ng gobyerno. Ito pong klaseng unsubstantiated, unproven, unverified reporting, and unverified reading of a supposedly documents na para sa gobyerno, or sa kung sino man pong ginagawan diyan ng kuwento kuwento at binabasa po ito ng PIO,” Ting-Que said.
“This puts into question why would I trust a division and give him this kind of power, this kind of budget, when that division does not bother to check his sources,” she added.
She also said she will “definitely” file a case against the people involved in the distribution of the letter.
The heated tension between Sending and Ting-Que prompted Board Member Jeff Vargas, who was then presiding the session, to declare 5-minute recess to cool up the two.
Board Member Pastor Ross Resuello also came to rescue Sending and said he should be allowed to answer questions to defend himself.
In his defense, Sending said the letter was only read during a private meeting and during the management committee meeting, and was not published or mentioned to any medium.
“Katunayan, sir, bilang isang mamamahayag ay alam ko naman na hindi namin kailangang i-post at di pa namin iyan pinost sa Facebook page. Hindi ko yan tinalakay sa anumang programa ko. Iyong sinabi ni kagalang-galang Que na binasa ko ay sa isang private na meeting dahil inatasan lang ako na basahin dahil matatas akong managalog,” Sending said, referring to Mamba as the one who instructed him to read out the letter to city officials who visited the latter’s office.
He also defended the governor, saying the letter was distributed during the meeting as part of their efforts to verify the information.
“Hindi naman po intensyon ng ating gobernador na siraan kung ano mang nasa politiko ang nasa sulat. Kundi ang kanyang paliwanag dito sa Mancom at maging sa simpleng talastasan ay para ipa-check, ganyan po ang kanyang instruction sa [Provincial Finance Committee] at sa [Bids and Awards Committee] na tingnan ninyo,” he said.
The letter, according to Sending, involved a former policeman allegedly involved in illegal drug trade, who was allowed to participate in the bidding for contractors for the projects of the provincial government.
The governor was only being cautious of being tagged as drug coddler when this contractor is awarded with projects, Sending said.
“Baka sabihin pa na tayo ay pumapabor sa mga sangkot sa droga na siyang pinaka-ayaw ng ating Pangulong Duterte,” he added. Northernforum.net