By Genalyn Kabiling
Former Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) board officials should focus their energies on the investigation into the alleged anomalous lease deal with a casino developer, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque issued the statement after sacked NPF chair Patricia Ocampo placed a full page newspaper advertisement denying any irregularity in the integrated resort-casino project in the Entertainment City
“At the end of the day, all public officials, including those who are in government-owned and controlled corporations, serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority, who happens to be the President,” Roque said in a statement.
“If the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) trustees and officials believe that they were unfairly accused of graft and corruption, then they should focus their energies on any investigation of the charges,” he added.
Roque has criticized the NPF board for defying the President’s policy against new casino operations when it allowed to lease a government property to a casino developer.
He noted that they should have followed Duterte’s directive especially since appointees all serve at the pleasure of the President.
“For now, let us respect the decision of the President. PRRD’s stance remains: He does not want a new casino,” he said.
“What the NPF trustees and officials did was actually a violation of the President’s order that there will be no more new casinos allowed to operate in this country,” he added.
Roque said since the President has spoken about the matter, “no NPF trustee or official could insist that he or she should continue holding office.”
Ocampo, in a paid newspaper advertisement, claimed that the lease of Nayong Pilipino property to Landing International Development Ltd (LIDL) was “absolutely legal.” She claimed that the NPF officials have been falsely accused of corruption and were mere victims of a smear campaign.
Early this month, the President fired the entire NPF board for approving a “gross disadvantageous” lease deal with the Hong Kong-based company.
The dismissal of the NPF officials was announced the same day the company broke ground on a $1.5 billion resort and casino project on the NPF property in the Entertainment City.