Duterte fires DOTr ASec for dealing with his sister

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DAVAO CITY (May 22) — Because of his dealings with the Presidential relative, President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Transport Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced Monday, May 21,  “The President has terminated the services of Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino for having dealings with a presidential relative — a sister.”

Tolentino’s termination should serve as a warning, to those who are fond of dropping the name of the President just to corner contracts or earn money from people.

Last Friday, Tolentino called for a press conference,  he revealed an anomaly  involving the Mindanao Railway projects.

It was on the same conference,  when he admitted he asked permission from a presidential relative  whether to  proceed with the project or not  “May tinanong ako and he/she— ang sabi niya, go ahead nasa likod mo ako, so,  I proceed.”

Tolentino did not realized, that was his last.

Roque stressed “And the reminder of the President is no one should entertain any relative of the President, in connection with any matter that has to do with government.”

Duterte’s dismissal order against Tolentino came just three days after the latter claimed that the Mindanao railway project was being deliberately derailed, in an attempt of some Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) higher officials to borrow funds from a foreign firm despite having a P36-billion budget.

Roque emphasized while Tolentino had been embroiled in several controversies during his stint at the DOTr, the President’s main concern was that the Transport official communicated with an unnamed “presidential sister.”

But Roque maintained, he is not privy to the supposed dealings done between Tolentino and Duterte’s sister.

Duterte has two sisters, Eleanor and Jocellyn.

Jocellyn Duterte-Villarica had a spat with the President for years, but reconciled after the 2016 elections.  Since then, Jocelyn developed a pool of supporters in social media, while the reserved older sister Eleanor Roa Duterte remain private and does not  public and social media engagement.

Last year, Jocellyn’s name cropped up, after she reportedly promised to facilitate the appointment of a “Sultan” for a top most catering to the Muslim Filipino but the President appointed somebody for the post.

In explaining TOlentino’s termination, Roque stressed “I do not know who is [the presidential sister Tolentino had a dealings with. Apparently, it is a presidential sister. So the message is the President is serious [in his pronouncement]: Do not even talk to them (presidential relatives) about any matter concerning government. You will get sacked if you do,” he said.

“If you talk to any of the relatives of the President, that’s a basis for your dismissal. May the dismissal of Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino serve as an example,” he added.

Tolentino is just one of the five top government officials who are expected to be fired by Duterte this week over allegations of corruption.

Duterte on May 15 demanded the resignation of Justice Assistant Secretary Moslemen Macarambon Sr. and Public Works Assistant Secretary Tingagon Umpa for their supposed involvement in corruption.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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