Malacañang assured the public that it would be relentless in bringing down crooks in the government but at the same time made it clear that it would not sacrifice any official out of mere propaganda.
“There will be no sacred cows at any level of the government, but neither will there be sacrificial lambs for mere propaganda,” Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said.
Bunye gave the statement in the light of a series of graft allegations against key officials of the government, state-run corporations and the military.
Among those being dragged into charges of corruption are Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Interior and Local Governments Secretary Angelo Reyes, Government Service Insurance System President Winston Garcia, Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia and at least two other unnamed Cabinet secretaries.
Bunye said the President’s determination to eliminate crooks in the government is extensive and unwavering.
He said, however, the President will not be swayed by screaming headlines or by mere speculations on wrongdoings of her appointees.
“Allegations of corruption should be substantiated with reasonable evidence before earnest inquiries can move forward,” Bunye said.
Ermita is reportedly one of three Cabinet officials who are being investigated by the US government for amassing wealth illegally.
He has issued a statement that he has no knowledge of the US probe involving him.
“First, there could be no reason for such probe because I have no financial transaction in any bank or financial institution in the US; and second, I have not received any information, either personally or officially, about such a probe by US authorities of Cabinet members who are formerly members of the AFP,” he said.
Ermita, who is a retired general and a former secretary of national defense, said he came out with the statement to set the record straight and clarify doubts on his person.
Bunye, meanwhile, said he received a call from Ronald Post of the US Embassy in Manila informing him that they are not aware of any investigation being conducted by any US law enforcement agency involving any Cabinet member for alleged graft.
On the issue against Reyes, Bunye said the DILG chief has explained well his side that the properties and wealth he acquired were from loans and from relatives.
As for Winston Garcia, Bunye said President Arroyo has instructed the Presidential Antigraft Commission to conduct a thorough lifestyle check on the GSIS president.