on Saturday Apr 22nd at 1:48am
Sueno was fired from the Cabinet for loss of confidence. He has maintained that he is not corrupt. File photo
MANILA, Philippines — The controversial fire trucks deal that cost Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno his job will push through after all.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the purchase of fire trucks from an Austrian firm would push through because there is no court order that stopped its implementation.
“The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) firetruck deal will proceed,” Abella said in a statement.
“It is a perfected contract and there is no temporary restraining order (TRO) that prevents its implementation,” he added.
Interestingly, Abella’s statement was similar to the one issued by Sueno when he was answering claims that he was involved in anomalies.
Sueno: Duterte may have been fed wrong info
Duterte fired Sueno this month over the deal, which was questioned before the Supreme Court by former Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz.
The president said he lost his temper when Sueno claimed that he was unaware of the legal opinion on the contract for the purchase of the trucks from Austrian company Rosenbauer.
“If you answer me… that you never read the opinion of your legal officer of your own office, it’s either you are taking me for stupid, an idiot or you are lying through your teeth,” the president said.
The interior department legal opinion recommended that Sueno defer his approval to seek payment for the trucks pending the case filed before the high court
Sueno has said he respects the decision of the president to remove him from his post but maintained that he is not involved in corrupt practices.
He said Duterte may have been fed with the wrong information by “those who were salivating for his post from the start.”
Sueno said there was no way that he could have prevented the purchase of the firetrucks “because it was a perfected contract entered into by the previous administration.”
“My role was to abide by the provision of the contract which says that I should ensure that the firetrucks to be delivered are in good condition so my team and I had to go to Austria to inspect them. If we did not do that, we cannot anymore complain if they delivered defective firetrucks to us,” Sueno said.
Sueno claimed that the firetrucks are actually much cheaper compared to locally-made firetrucks because these were under a soft loan agreement for 23 years with only minimal interest rates.
“The Austrian firetrucks are new ones compared to the locally-made ones which are cheaper but are reconditioned and which are good only for a few years. But then again, this is beside the point. The contract is perfected and I only had to implement it,” he said.