FORMER Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Dionisio Santiago said it was ex-Special Action Force commander Leocadio Santiago who received a house as a gift from the Parojinogs, not him.
“It was Leocadio Santiago and not me,” Santiago told The Manila Times a day after Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the ex-DDB chief was fired because of junkets with a “mistress” and getting a house from a drug lord, not just for “blabbering” about the mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija being a “huge mistake”
Santiago revealed that the house allegedly given to Leocadio by the late Ozamiz mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, a known drug lord, was only a four-hectare rest house.
Santiago claimed that Leocadio was a former lover of Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez.
He said that when the two ended their affair, the rest house was donated to the government of Ozamiz City.
Santiago, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1970, said he was good friends with Leocadio of Class 1979, but had not been talking to him.
“Why would I talk to him? What would we talk about?” Santiago said.
He noted that the supposed complaint of the DDB Union cited by the Palace was disowned by Priscilla Herrera, the signatory.
“There is divisiveness in DDB. There are different factions,” Santiago said.
As for Edith Julie Mendoza, the alleged mistress, Santiago said she was only a DDB employee. He said he was with his wife, not with Mendoza, during his trips to the United States and Vienna, Austria.
“How could I be with my mistress when I was with my wife?” Santiago said.
Santiago also denied he contradicted the President during a television interview regarding the mega rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija. He said he only talked in favor of “community-based” rehabilitation.
“You can replay the ANC interview yourself. I was misquoted. I said it was only impractical,” Santiago said.
On Monday, DDB Union President Jo Ann Desiderio denied Roque’s claim that the union filed a complaint on October 25 accusing Santiago of having junkets abroad with Mendoza, as well as receiving a house from the Parojinogs.
Palace changes statement
Roque changed his statement on Tuesday and said there were other complaints against Santiago.
“I did not make the allegation, [but]I stand by the fact that the complaint exists. I stand by the fact that in our anti-graft laws, the Executive department is duty bound to act, even on an anonymous complaint. That’s the nature of a zero-tolerance policy,” Roque told reporters.
“The complaint exists, it had a received tag of the President’s office. I do not know who [submitted it], but it is official and it is in our files,” he added.
Also, Roque said Santiago was indeed let go because of his comments on the mega rehab center.
“He wasn’t removed due to the corruption complaint. We just made the complaint public to show that on top of Santiago’s comments on the rehab facility, there is also a complaint against him,” Roque said.
with LLANESCA T. PANTI