PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has fired Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino for having dealings with a sister of the chief executive, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after Duterte said over the weekend that he would dismiss officials who would use him or his family for leverage.
Previously, Duterte fired high-ranking officials and heads of offices accused of corruption and making excessive travels.
Just last Friday Tolentino held a press conference where he alleged that there are officials inside the department who are trying to manipulate the bidding process for the Mindanao Railway project.
Tolentino said he was keen on reporting the corrupt “kontrabidas” to Duterte, emphasizing that the massive Mindanao railway is among the flagship infrastructure projects promised by the President.
“Kung sino po ‘yung may personal interest diyan, pasensiya na po, isusumbong ko po kayo sa ating mahal na Pangulo,” he said, adding that he obtained the blessing of a member of the President’s family to push through with the bidding.
“I asked the support of one of the first family. Tinanong ko, ‘Maam, Sir, ituloy ko ba ito? Sabihin niyo hindi, hindi ko itutuloy’. Sabi niya, ‘Go’. Hindi ko lang sabihin kung sino,” he said.
DOTr Communications Director Goddess Libiran said Tolentino’s press conference was “unauthorized.” Tolentino said he was in a position to talk about matters concerning the railway project.