Santiago asks: Where’s Secretary Puno?
By Tarra Quismundo, Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 08:58:00 10/06/2009

MANILA, Philippines—Where is Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno?

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago wants to know since, she said, Puno was noticeably absent during the height of Tropical Storm “Ondoy’s” onslaught of the metropolis the other week.

“I want to know where he was during the flood,” said Santiago yesterday, adding that she heard he was abroad “ostensibly because his wife is ill.”

In a text message to the Inquirer, Interior Assistant Secretary Brian Yamsuan said Puno was in Virginia in the United States because his wife Pinky was undergoing major surgery.

Puno will be back in the country on Oct. 12, Yamsuan said.

Santiago made the remark when she was asked if she thought Puno should be held liable along with some mayors for the poor response to the calamity caused by the successive storms to hit Metro Manila.

Santiago said Puno apparently did not get President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s permission to leave the country since the latter herself had asked during a televised briefing last week who had given the DILG secretary the authority to travel abroad at a time of calamity.

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