[PHOTO -Philippine National Police Chief Nicanor Bartolome]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 (STANDARD) By Manila Standard Today - Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno might be replaced by Philippine National Police Chief Nicanor Bartolome, President Benigno Aquino III said Sunday in a briefing in Vladivostok, Russia.

Aquino said there is a possibility that Puno will be moved to another post.

Appointed by Aquino in September last year as chief of the Philippine National Police, Bartolome is due to retire upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on March 16, 2013.

Aquino is currently in Russia to join fellow world leaders attending the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit.

Puno tries to get into Robredo’s condo unit By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on September 07, 2012 | 12:01am | 5,098 views

The day after Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was declared missing as a result of his plane crashing in Masbate, his deputy, Undersecretary Rico Puno, attempted to break into Robredo’s condominium and offices in the National Police Commission and the Interior Department, apparently to gain access to “sensitive” documents, a report from ABS-CBN said Thursday night.

The aborted break-in purportedly prompted Robredo’s wife Leni to ask President Benigno Aquino III to secure the documents that supposedly contained information pertaining to an investigation on Puno and some police officials.

Five days after the plane crash on Aug. 18, the President ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to secure the documents in the couple’s condominium unit in Quezon City.

Mrs. Robredo admitted to the press in Naga that she herself made the request that their apartment be secured.

According to a report by ABS-CBN’s Anthony Taberna on TV Patrol Thursday, Leni Robredo asked for heightened security after she was notified that Puno had attempted to enter the condominium unit.

Based on the logbook of the security guard at the Robredos’ condominium on 20 Lansbergh Place, Puno was reportedly accompanied by police general Joel Pagdilao and policemen Oliver Tanseco and Apollo Reuben Tugaluk, the report says.

Tanseco was allegedly able to enter the building but was prevented from entering Robredo’s condominium unit by the househelp, according to ABS-CBN.

Tanseco then called Robredo’s lawyer and asked for permission, but he was still not allowed in the absence of a search warrant, the report said.

The ABS-CBN report said Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman was with Leni when Leni received a call from someone who had notified her about Puno’s attempted entry.

Two weeks before Robredo died, he was reportedly able to tell President Aquino about the pending investigation, the ABS-CBN report said.

Puno has been the subject of various complaints that eventually reached the President.

Time to quit, Puno urged By Maricel Cruz | Posted on September 09, 2012 | 12:03am | 1 views

Aquino’s ally draws flak over P1-b midnight deal

[PHOTO -Puno is known to be a firing range gun master of the President]

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno came under fire on Saturday, with several lawmakers demanding his resignation and seeking a full-blown investigation on the allegedly anomalous P1-billion midnight purchase of firearms he made for the National Police.

Senator Miriam Santiago said she would ask for an investigation on the “unique and anomalous” authority given to Puno, a long-time ally of President Benigno Aquino III, as overseer of police matters.

Senior opposition member Rep. Orlando Fua of Siquijor sought a resolution in the House of Representatives directing an appropriate committee to find out if there are laws being violated by Puno when he approved the contract with Trust Trade and its partner, Glock Asia Pacific Ltd., last Aug. 31, the same day that President Aquino named Manuel Roxas II as Interior secretary and gave him a free hand to bring in his own team.

An administration ally, Rep. Angelo Palmones of Agham party-list group, sought Puno’s resignation in the name of delicadeza.

“The investigation on this purchase deal handled by Puno is a real test of President Aquino’s much ballyhooed ‘matuwid na daaan’ and anti-graft program,” Fua told the MST Sunday.

The probe, Fua said, would also test the President’s integrity and commitment to pursue reforms in PNP purchases.

“More than anything else, the investigation will also determine President Aquino’s faithfulness to his oath of office: ‘walang kurap, walang mahirap’,” he said.

Opposition stalwart Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano said that the contract involving the purchase of 60,000 pistols for the police at a cost of P997.99 million should be thoroughly reviewed and investigated not only by Congress but also by other agencies of government.

“It involves the taxpayers’ money,” said Albano, a member of the powerful House Committee on Appropriatios.

House Assistant Majority Leader and party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle against Corruption said that charges should be initiated against Puno before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“I don’t think (Congress is the right venue for Puno to answer the allegations against him. The proper forum is the Office of the Ombudsman if and in case somebody files a case against him,” Tugna said.

Palmones, for his part, urged Puno to resign for delicadeza, saying that the controversy involving Puno is a chance for the President to show the Filipino people that the ‘special class’ called ‘P’noy’s ‘KKK’ group (Kaibigan, Kaklase at Kabarilan—friends, classmates and shooting buddies) are not above the law.

Puno figured prominently in the botched and embarrassing handling of the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking incident in August 2011. He was on top of the police operations together with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim when the lamented and botched rescue effort turned into a bloody mess.

Despite the mishandling of the Quirino Grandstand hostage tourist massacre, Puno got off with a slap on the wrist. The HongKong government up to this day had banned HK residents from visiting the Philippines.

“He (Puno) is just a trusted ‘kabarilan’ of P’noy. If he (Puno) is a true friend, he should have resigned even after the Luneta booboo,” Palmones said.

Puno is known to be a firing range gun master of the President.

Except for a penchant for practical shooting and enthusiasm for firearms, Puno—who earned a degree in Agricultural Economics at University of the Philippines, in Los Baños—was appointed by the President to handle the PNP and other police matters in the DILG.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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