Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo shielded Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar from allegations of rampant corruption in the agency.
During his talk show on state run PTV this week, Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte was not referring to Villar when he ranted about corrupt officers at the DPWH.
The President particularly mentioned contractors as one of the sources of corruption in the agency.
Villar said the DPWH had taken steps to deal with corruption and had blacklisted nearly 30 contractors.
“Si Presidente nagsalita, ‘Oy diyan sa DPWH maraming corrupt diyan,’ yung mga contractor diyan. Pero alam ninyo, hindi ibig sabihin nun eh ‘yung head diyan eh corrupt (The President said many are involved in corruption there, the contractors. But you know, that does not mean that their head is corrupt),’” Panelo said.
He said people under Villar were the ones conspiring with contractors.
Panelo said the President continues to trust Villar, just like he trusts Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd. Villar, he added, was one of the cabinet officials who are quick to address complaints.
He lauded the big-ticket infrastructure projects completed under Villar’s stint — most recent is the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3, which connects South and North Luzon expressways.