As various sectors back OPAV Chief: Pres. Duterte still trusts Dino
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - June 30, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque dispelled rumors that Secretary Michael Dino, of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), will be replaced following an online petition calling for his resignation because of alleged corruption.

Roque said Dino still has the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Dueterte.

"As to the issue of resignation, we all serve at the pleasure of the President po. Kapag nawala ng tiwala ng presidente, goodbye cabinet member. Pero sa ngayon po, nandyan pa rin po si Sec. Dino, so may tiwala pa rin po ang Presidente kay Sec. Dino," said Roque.

Believing that the petition was politically motivated, Roque made an appeal to set aside politics now that the country is struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus disease and reeling from its economic effects.

"Isantabi po muna natin ang politika. Yun online petition, hayaan po natin ang gumagawa nyan. Hindi po natin mapipigilan yan," Roque said.

"For now, Secretary Diño is still there so the President still trusts Secretary Dino," he added.

Rumors have been spreading like wildfire over the weekend about a supposed relief of Dino as OPAV chief. According to the information, Ambassador Bruce Concepcion, special envoy on transnational crimes, will be Dino’s replacement.

“Of course, rumors ra na,” Dino said in reaction to the report. As to the call for his resignation, Dino said his being in the position is a “prerogative of the president.”

A petition citing allegations of corruption against Dino and other persons as his alleged conduits was posted on last week. The petition, which was supported by some known campaigners of President Duterte in the 2016 elections, asked the president to replace Dino. As of yesterday afternoon, the petition has garnered 4,421 signatures.

 Denying the allegations contained in the petition, Dino has asked the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit of the Cebu City Police Office to look for the people behind what he described as "libelous allegations aimed to discredit him."  Dino intends to press charges against the people behind the online petition against him.

Statements of support

Meanwhile, Dino get an outpouring of support and vote of confidence from several local officials, regional directors, medical practitioners, and business leaders in Cebu.

Among them are Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas, and Liloan town Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco, who is also the president of the Municipal Mayors League in Cebu.

"We are in the middle of a global pandemic. Now is not the time for mudslinging and bickering," Labella said.

Also vouching for Dino are Fifth District Rep. Duke Frasco and Sixth District Rep. Emmarie Ouano-Dizon. Medical professionals like Dr. Potenciano Larrazabal III, president and chairman of the board of CebuDoc Group, and Dr. Pureza Oñate, medical director of Perpetual Succour Hospital, also rallied behind him.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cebu Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine Retailers Association – Cebu chapter have also expressed their vote of confidence to Dino.

In his statement, MCCI president Steven Yu said, “We stand by Secretary Michael Dino and the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) who, through the years, have worked with the business community of Mandaue by effectively championing our concerns to the national government. Through his dynamic leadership, we have felt the concern of the President to the Cebuanos.”

Even Police Regional Office-7 director Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro said the police force in Central Visayas is behind Dino.

"Kami diri sa PRO-7 misuporta ni Sec. Michael Dino ug sa iyang tumong sa atong siyudad; ubay-ubay na usab and iyang natabang sa atong mga frontliners," Ferro said.  FPL (FREEMAN)

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