Aquino visits Korea amid ongoing investigations of two gov. officials

By Jeff Canoy

Busan, South Korea – It’s a cold day in Busan, South Korea, where 11 heads of state gathered for the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit to discuss natural disasters, climate change, and regional security.

Weather aside, South Korea and other leaders warmly received President Aquino, offering their sympathies to the country for the losses incurred during Typhoon Ruby or Hagupit.

South Korea also extended its assistance to the country in disaster management.

“Nag-express ng sympathy, dahil sa pagdaan ni Hagupit, as in lahat, klaro sa kanila ang global climate change,” said Aquino. “Yung second meeting was to stress everything that they can do now, instead of waiting to perfect the equal responsibility measure.”

In his interview with the media, Aquino discussed the controversies surrounding Health Secretary Enrique Ona and PNP Chief Director Purisima.

Aquino said Ona’s leave from his post was extended, as investigations continue on the agency’s questionable purchase of anti-pneumonia vaccines.

But the president added the vaccine issue isn’t the only issue they are investigating in Ona’s department.

“Not just PCV,” said President Aquino. “There are three or four other issues we are looking into, tapos na ata yung investigation, waiting for the results.”

Ona isn’t the only presidential appointee being investigated.

The Ombudsman ordered a six-month preventive suspension for Purisima and several other police officials over an allegedly anomalous contract with a courier service for the delivery of gun licenses.

Aquino said Purisima will have to follow the process, but also has the right to defend himself.

“Bottom line is may utos yung Ombudsman ‘no,” said the Philippine president. “He is, he will have to undergo the processes and one of them is this preventive suspension. Another aspect naman is, like any other citizen, he has the right to defend himself.”

For now, Deputy Director General for Operations Leonardo Espina is taking over as the PNP’s OIC.

“He is not supposed to be leading,” continued Aquino. “He is under suspension. General Espina [is] who should be leading… So whatever we put in place should not be dependent on any one person. At klaro iyon, I ran the cabinet the same thing. There are instructions that have to be carried out, they don’t carry it out, medyo, you will have to answer.”

Aquino said he has already talked to Purisima, who’s still staying in his quarters in Camp Crame.

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