Malacañang said Friday Office of Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Assistant Kristoffer James Purisima has been relieved from his post, with the agency saying immediately it respected President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to fire one of its officials.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the decision was due to “lack of trust and confidence.” Purisima previously served as the spokesperson of the task force overseeing the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi.
OCD was recently tasked to receive and coordinate donations of medicines and medical supplies and equipment to the government. Duterte in April required the transmission of all donations to the national government to pass through the office for consolidation.
“All of the President’s appointees serve at his pleasure. OCD respects and submits to the decision of the President,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesperson Mark Cashean Timbal said.
The OCD is the executive arm of the NDRRMC and the implementer of its programs.
Timbal said he still had to see the former OCD official.
At the same time, Roque said Duterte had accepted the resignation of Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, filed three months ago.
Roque said the Palace was thankful to Rio for his “invaluable services to the nation.”
“We wish him (Rio) well in all his future endeavors,” he said.
Rio on January 31 sent a letter to Duterte, informing the President of his decision to quit his post.
Earlier reports said he resigned due to a supposed conflict with other DICT officials.
Rio also questioned the grant and questionable allocation of multi-million-peso confidential funds of the agency.
The DICT had P400 million in confidential funds in 2019 and P800 million in 2020.
In February, Malacañang said Duterte would first let the Senate look into the controversial confidential funds appropriated to the DICT before ordering a possible presidential probe.
In the same month, Rio issued a joint statement with DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, clarifying that the former’s resignation was “because of personal reasons, and not due to any rift with the Secretary, nor to any anomaly in the confidential fund.”
Rio, a licensed electronics and communications engineer, served as DICT Undersecretary for Operations prior to his resignation.
He also served as acting DICT secretary and led the bidding process for the country’s third major telecommunications player.