13:14 GMT +322 March 2018
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    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) walks with Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary, Mr Ismael Sueno, during the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) graduation in Camp Castaneda, Silang town in Cavite city, south of Manila, Philippines March 24, 2017. Picture taken March 24, 2017

    Duterte Sacks Philippine Interior Minister Over Corruption Allegations

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    Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno was dismissed over corruption allegations.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno from his position in government over corruption allegations, the presidential spokesman said Tuesday.

    "The summary dismissal served as a warning that Mr Duterte would not countenance any questionable or legally untenable decisions by any member of the Cabinet… [Sueno] had, in fact, been instrumental in convincing the President to run for election. But this did not deter the President from pursuing his drive for a trustworthy government by addressing issues like corruption," Ernesto Abella said, as quoted by The Straits Times newspaper.

    The sacking came just a day after three of Sueno's undersecretaries sent a letter to the president accusing the minister of corruption and abuse. The counts of corruption included expanding his hotel and rice businesses using government funds. The letter also said Sueno suspiciously used excessive funds to purchase Australian fire trucks and meddled in the work of anti-drug police units to prevent the persecution of a mayor.

    The minister denied all the allegations, saying the businesses in question belonged to his relatives while the fire truck deal had been closed under his predecessor, adding that he chose to go ahead despite a pending court case because the Australian trucks had more accessories than Chinese ones. He also said he could not have interfered in drug police operations as they were under a different jurisdiction.

    Sueno supported Duterte's presidential bid last year and had previously served as a mayor and a governor. Duterte ran on a strong anti-corruption platform as well as promising to stamp out crime and drug dealers.


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    Ismael Sueno, Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines
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