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PCGG chief goes on leave

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By Joel Guinto, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 14:51:00 09/12/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Embattled Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chief Camilo Sabio has filed a leave of absence beginning September 29 and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accepted the request, Malacañang said.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said Friday that Sabio wrote to President Arroyo to inform her of his “voluntary” decision.

Arroyo accepted Sabio’s leave request, Dureza said, adding the letter was sent through him as acting executive secretary.

Dureza said Sabio would be replaced by former Justice Narciso Nario in acting capacity.

“The purpose [of the leave] is to allow a smooth process of investigation by the Bar Confidant,” Dureza told a news conference in Malacañang.

Sabio told Friday that taking a leave from his post was the “right thing to do” to spare the President from trouble.

“It’s the right thing to do. I want to help the President and the administration, I don’t want to make it difficult for the President,” he said in a telephone interview minutes after Malacañang announced his decision.

“It’s better to take a leave so that people would not think I’m the President’s problem, because this could affect the government, you see, my integrity is under question,” he said, adding the decision was solely his and that no one influenced him.

Dureza said the Palace will not conduct a separate inquiry into Sabio’s alleged attempt to influence his brother, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose Sabio Jr., to rule in favor of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) in its bid to take over the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Dureza said the Palace would wait for the Bar Confidant decision on Sabio, who is in danger of being disbarred, before deciding on his fate.

“I think it is the right thing for him to do, at the point that we have gone through the process in the judiciary and there is a basis to forward his act to the bar confidant,” Dureza said.

Sabio’s leave will take effect on September 29, when he would have arrived in the country, from an “official mission” to Paris, France and Vienna, Austria for the next two weeks, Dureza said.

Sabio said he will await the decision of the Office of the Bar Confidant before returning to PCGG, if the President still wants him.

The Supreme Court suspended Justice Sabio for two months without pay. Associate Justice Vicente Roxas, who penned the decision that favored GSIS, was dismissed. Three other justices were either reprimanded or admonished.

With a report from Michael Lim Ubac, Inquirer

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-09-12T16:18:13+00:00UTC09bUTCFri, 12 Sep 2008 16:18:13 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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