Acting DILG head told to quit for pushing P2.8B firetruck deal

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A lawyer has called on acting Interior Secretary Catalino Cuy to resign for maintaining that the firetruck deal with an Austrian firm was a perfected “government to government contract.”

In a letter to Cuy, Leo Romero, counsel of former Abakada Party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cuz, noted that the questionable contract for the acquisition of 4,000 Rosenbauer firetrucks was also the reason why Ismael Sueno was fired by President Rodrigo Duterte in April.

Romero also decried Cuy’s refusal to provide his group certified true copies of the contract to acquire the firetrucks.

“You have made a mockery of the oft-repeated pronouncements of President Duterte that graft and corruption in government must stop,” he told Cuy. “It so appears that you share the same naughty mindset of former Secretary Sueno … and you may later be reeking of the similar “first whiff” of corruption and suffer the same fate,” he added.


Duterte has said that he blew his top when he learned that Sueno had not read the legal opinion of his department about the firetrucks deal.

“The most honorable thing to do at this point is to resign from your office,” Romero said in his letter to Cuy, copies of which were furnished to the Office of the President and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“After you have resigned, you can now shout to your heart’s content that President Duterte is unworthy of the trust and confidence reposed by the Filipino people…You have countermanded, contradicted, and disrespectfully placed in the back burner the covenant of President Duterte to the Filipino people,” the lawyer said.

In June last year, Romero filed a petition at the Supreme Court questioning the P2.8 billion contract with Rosenbauer International AG.

He said the Austrian government handpicked Rosenbauer to supply the firetrucks but this does not make the deal a “government to government transaction.”

“Rosenbauer is not [even]a government or even a government agency performing governmental or developmental functions [and it]is publicly listed in the Vienna Stock Exchange. The supply contracts expressly provide that they shall be governed by Philippine laws,” he said.

DEMPSEY REYES

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