An official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), who has been one of three allegedly responsible for the ouster of then Secretary Ismael Sueno, now finds himself in a similar situation as he denied allegations that he was engaged in a “money-making” scheme involving the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), both under the DILG.
Jesus Hinlo, DILG undersecretary for public safety, shrugged off claims that he was “skimming” off from the department’s projects, including the prisoner’s meal allowance, “promotional-for-sale racket” and “reassignment of personnel racket”, saying he does not have the authority over programs under the BJMP and the BFP.
Hinlo was reacting to reports of a “confidential letter” that was sent to the Office of the President by DILG employees and officials pointing to Hinlo and two other undersecretaries — Emily Padilla and John Castriciones – of being involved with anomalous acts in the department.
The three were also allegedly behind the ouster of Sueno, whom they accused of committing dishonesty and corruption within the DILG.
Hinlo said he was never authorized to man BJMP and BFP by reassigning or promoting personnel in the attached agencies of the interior department.
“I would like to make clear that despite being the undersecretary for public safety, I was never given by former DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno the authority to promote or reassign BJMP or BFP personnel nor was I ever given the authority to handle the budget or manage the BJMP prisoner’s meal allowance,” he said.
Aside from linking Hinlo to the anomalous projects in the department, the employees and officials also accused him of allegedly attempting to change the procurement system of DILG.
Hinlo said, however, that he has not participated in any process of the DILG’s bid and awards committee, where he also noted that he was supposed to be a member of.
But Hinlo did admit to wanting to have the department’s procurement system improved, noting that the present design has made it ” difficult for Filipino manufacturers to qualify, participate and win in the bidding process.”
“It is my personal belief that the Philippine government must have a procurement system that would favor Filipino manufacturers and those products produced by factories within the Philippines,” Hinlo said.
“The Philippines must industrialize to create more jobs for the Filipinos. I also believe that the procurement system be made simpler and less technical,” he added.
Aside from corruption, Hinlo was also accused of having close ties with Edgar Mellama, alleged gambler and drug lord of Escalante, Negros Occidental.
The DILG employees claimed that Mellama was reportedly using his ties with Hinlo everytime he would encounter police.
Hinlo, a lawyer, said that Mellama was his client in two programs under the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) but dropped him “because of my then expected entry to government service”, adding that he stopped his private practice upon his appointment to the DILG.
He also expresed his “full support” to Castriciones and Padilla, whom he described as “dedicated and non-corrupt officials loyal to the President.”
The three were known to have requested the ouster of Sueno in April as they accused him of misusing DILG funds, especially in the allegedly anomalous Rosenbauer firetrucks deal in Austria.
President Rodrigo Duterte removed Sueno as DILG chief after holding a Cabinet meeting in Malacanang, using the allegations of the three undersecretaries as basis for Sueno’s termination.
The three used to be with Sueno in the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Council, which helped Duterte during his presidential campaign in the 2016 national elections.