The Lucky One: Rico Puno – it pays to be a presidential buddy

It’s good to have friends in high places. At least that is the case in Philippine society. Having very important people backing you can help you get what you want in your career or your business. If one doesn’t have friends in the right places, it would be harder to get things going for one’s self and family. It is one of those open secrets to living a seemingly successful and prosperous life for Filipinos. Members of the elite have always held this position in society. Most of them even admit to or sometimes even brag about adhering to the practice of asking or giving favors exclusively from or to relatives or friends in positions of influence.

Despite being a country of 100 million people, getting ahead in the Philippines is an easy task when you establish connections with a public servant in government. It can help put your request on top of a big pile and expedite its approval process or set the wheels in motion faster. In fact, when you know someone in a high position in the public sector, you don’t have to worry about breaking the rules. Your buddies in power can easily hush your critics using lame excuses for you. This is very much accepted by majority of the Filipino people.

Take the case of former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary, Rico Puno. Not only is Puno a close friend of Philippine President, Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino, he is also said to be the latter’s confidant – Aquino’s “eyes and ears”. This can also mean that Puno may know a lot of compromising information about the highest officer in the land. And this is precisely why some think that President BS Aquino is quick to save Puno’s backside every time he gets into trouble.

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Having the privilege of being close to President BS Aquino has not hurt Puno, indeed. Despite being embroiled in one controversy after another from the get-go, Puno doesn’t even get as much as a slap on the wrist. A lot of people are starting to notice how amazing it is that Puno seems to be always getting off the hook just when they thought he had finally caught himself between a rock and a hard place. He seems to give new meaning to the saying “defying the laws of gravity”. With all the allegations of impropriety involving Puno, he should have figuratively fallen flat on his face by now if he were not President BS Aquino’s friend.

Puno must be secretly regretting being thrust in the limelight after his appointment in government though. He has been hounded by allegations of involvement in the illegal numbers game jueteng as soon as he got the DILG post. It was Archbishop Oscar Cruz who implicated Puno among others in a list of big-time jueteng operators and even testified in the recent Senate hearing that “businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco personally asked him to ‘go easy’ on his exposé after he had linked Aquino administration officials and police officers to the jueteng anomaly.”

One does wonder what Puno has on the Aquino-Conjuanco clan that would make them do things for him just to make sure he is “safe”. Does the fact that Puno possesses a lot of firearms make them sweat? President “BS” Aquino for example, had to immediately speak on his friend’s behalf during a press briefing regarding Puno’s involvement in an allegedly anomalous rifles contract for the Philippine National Police Special Action Force. Aquino said that Puno simply might have “forgotten” to remind the DILG’s procurement service to stop the post-evaluation of the sole bidder. Never mind that the Puno’s former boss, the late DILG secretary; Jesse Robredo was also investigating Puno’s involvement in the case of the overpriced rifles possibly being bought from a sole bidder. However, being friends with President BS Aquino automatically entitles Puno to the “presumption of innocence” that most of the President’s political enemies never got.

On the other hand, Puno’s resignation from his DILG post could be a sign that President BS Aquino and his mouthpieces could be running out of excuses to stop members of mainstream and social media from putting pressure on them to explain things using more solid facts. After all, Jesse Robredo’s death is putting most Filipinos on high conspiracy theory mode. It doesn’t help that Puno along with some policemen allegedly broke into Robredo’s apartment immediately after the latter’s plane went missing.

President BS Aquino should understand people’s curiosity surrounding the “Punogate” scandal considering he himself is one great conspiracy theorist. We recall how the President tends to speculate on his enemy’s agendas using false data. His penchant for assuming the worst has ruined a few people’s careers and reputation.

The timing of Puno’s resignation is quite suspect. It was three days before a Senate committee starts its investigation on the allegations of impropriety. One can’t even admire his move considering his reason for resigning is not because he was heeding calls for him to step down; no, he used the excuse of giving his friend, President BS Aquino “a free hand to the incoming Secretary in forming a new team.” It just seems like he’s just returning a favor. The question on everyone’s lips is why did Puno resign if he is not guilty? And why can’t he simply explain the allegations against him? President BS Aquino asked the same kind of questions from his political enemies in the past and will do so in the future.

Senator Miriam Santiago makes a lot of sense when she said that Puno should have been sacked a long time ago after his disastrous handling of the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage crisis in Manila, which resulted in the deaths of eight tourists from Hong Kong along with the dismissed police officer who took them hostage at the time. Instead, lucky Puno will probably get another lucrative post with the current administration since President BS Aquino told reporters he will “ask his long-time friend if he still wants another government position.” Life certainly is too peachy for Rico Puno. It’s not too far-fetched for President BS Aquino to simple create a position for his “confidant” as a Malacañang consultant. This would assure him that Puno would be by his side all the time.

Yes, the elite members of Philippine society seem to have it easy. President BS Aquino guarantees it. His election promise to level the playing field doesn’t seem to include ordinary people. But it does include his Kaibigan, Kaklase at Kabarilan (KKK). It’s easier for these people to move from one influential position to another under his regime, thus making it easier for them to keep a hold on power by keeping the rest of society just where they are – irrelevant and inconsequential lots. In other words, tough luck to us all who are outside of President BS Aquino’s inner circle.

69 Replies to “The Lucky One: Rico Puno – it pays to be a presidential buddy”

  1. I read somewhere Puno now wistfully talks about his “good relationship” with the late secretary Robredo. That’s really convenient for him considering that dead people are no longer able to react to bullshit. 😀

    1. @benign0

      Well, Robredo’s wife and close friends can either confirm or deny Puno’s claim anyway. That is, if they have enough guts to talk. Problem is, some of these people don’t want to fall out of favor with the President as well, which is why they’d rather keep their mouth shut.

        1. @ahehe

          I’m sure she knows she is dealing with dangerous people after her husband’s “mysterious” plane crash.

        2. I think Mrs Robredo is silent because of another sort of contract – assassination. She’s just seen her husband murdered; I don’t think she wants to be next on the list. There is another major question to ask about the Aquino/Puno connection: are they homosexual lovers? If so, this is a major threat to national security because of the risk of blackmail. After all, Aquino doesn’t want his homosexuality to become public knowledge which is why his sister keeps finding “beards” – ersatz girlfriends – for him. No matter what, the moral and ethical canker at the centre of this administration is starting to give off a foul stench. Let’s hope the cowards in Congress rediscover their testicles in time to impeach Aquino because the Philippines cannot afford to have every branch of government – even the ombudsman! – corrupted by this lying pervert.

        3. Matthew , are you implying Noynoy “No cojones” Aquino , resorts to arm candy??? Say it ain’t so!! I thought those much younger ladies were in for his brain. Oh yeah, there’s nothing there.

  2. His lies are incredulous and insulting
    He said robredo knew and approved the contract! – that he told robredo he was resigning! That he and robredo were friends!!!

    (Aside – no coincidence judges list released yesterday and leni robredo name NOT on it!!
    Palace intimated they will look into it – and sort it out if leni no doubt keeps quiet. Message sent)

    The biggest lie of all – his visit to israel on may 10.
    He said it was a family holiday and just coincidence 3 other members of bid team on holiday at same time at same place which happened to be location of IMI arms suppliers!!!!!

    Bully no mates puno and billy no mates p-noy. Missfits stick together

    He will not attend friday. Too cowardly. Miriam shoots back unlike cardboard cut outs on firing range.

    This would have embroiled aquino and cojuangco if miriam went all the way.

    Hope CAAP check for sugar in the fuel. and old 80’s method of plane

    1. @libertas

      The guy knows the convenient thing to say at the right time. It’s all up to our law enforcement agencies now if they will pursue the truth. You know how it’s like with our “ningas-kugon” society. Things will be forgotten soon enough if Senator Miriam is the only one making noise about this.

      1. You come across as confused in your comment. Which part of the article says people are worried about Miriam? Will she side with the alleged “corrupt” Puno?

        Why do you think Corona is corrupt? Please be specific.

      2. @Fishball

        Clearly you are full of sh-t if you think Miriam is corrupt. In the matter of Corona, she sided with the Constitution and the Rule of Law, something 20 of her fellow senators – including the vile Enrile – and 188 of the pond scum in the lower house did not do. Let’s hope she kicks down the house of cards which is the Aquino maladministration on Friday.

  3. pinagbigyan na kayo. Move on okay? At tandaan na may basbas ng presidente ang paglockdown ni puno sa mga dokumento ng dilg. Gawa gawa lang ng mga kalaban na may ginawang anumalya si Puno.

  4. after quite awhile, another new one from you Ilda. Nice read. Been commenting in other fora regarding Puno and after reading this, I now have more ‘ammunition’. Thanks to you.

  5. the lies and corruption of this administration have been exposed.
    the world bank in washington says philippine contracts are overpriced to allow for kickbacks, and shipments of guns sent and then cancelled so that they end up with unscrupulous arms dealers and potentially terrorists via the black market.
    aquinos grandfather was a traitor who helped the japanese in ww2.
    ninoy helped the communists
    the naive mother sold out to the americans.
    genetics and family values show a pattern.

    this sorry saga with punocchio exemplifies the dishonor amongst thieves.
    and why should p-noy get his hands dirty when he has a dog that can bark for him

      1. agree but wb says the practices continue and currency outflows due to corruption increasing along with tax evasion by the highest earners.
        1.4 million of 1.7 million professionals pay no tax at all putting an even higher tax burden on those who can least afford it – 30% of which disappears in corruption, pdaf kickbacks etc
        hence budget going from 1 to 2 trillion with 25% alloted to p-noy slush fund and electioneering.
        dont set your bar so low and your naivete so high.

      2. No you may not correct, fishball you birdbrain, because your bobo president can’t even pin down a decent charge against the arroyo administration. Meanwhile, the corruption and incompetence in his own government has just been laid bare for us to see.

      3. Fishball, fish do not have balls and neither do you… and obviously your brain is missing as well. The Aquino maladministration is thoroughly corrupt. It has bribed Congress to get Corona impeached. It must have bribed 20 senators to get Corona impeached for a non-impeachable offence that he wasn’t even charged with. It has corrupted the office of the ombudsman because the ombudsman is now a tool for prosecuting the pseudo-president’s enemies rather than doing her job of looking at Puno-style irregularities. It has tainted the SC by appointing a madwoman with little legal experience as the Chief Justice. Why can’t noytards like you see the actual facts in front of you? The effete and effeminate balding homosexual who became head of state because people felt sorry for his mother is just a tool of the same oligarchs who have been sending this country backwards for years. Sure, there was corruption in the Arroyo administration – this is the Philippines after all and a lack of integrity is a fundamental part of being Filipino – but at least Gloria was actually trying to improve the economy.

        1. “Do not cats pearls before swine.” – Reasons and logic are wasted on people like fishball who are either paid hacks or just plain idiots.

        2. Fishball is both an idiot and a paid hack that hasn’t got brains to counter our arguments. He resorts to shifting the topic to gloria’s alledged crimes whenever his boss is being bashed. Unfortunately for him, he is just giving us more amunition against his bald boss.

      4. no you may not “correct”. Your president’s government is falling down and you are going to regret supporting the incompetent boob soon, very soon.

      5. Fishball. Nobody here understands you. Except me. Self preservation is a basic instinct. You glorify Noynoy Aquino even in your own mind because should something happen to his reign of incompetence you are out of a job. Then what will you place on your resume? Science fiction writer? WWE Script writer?

        1. Fishball should check himself into a mental hospital after Pnoy’s ill fated term reaches it’s end.

        2. Don’t make light the wisdom of being a PersiNoyNoy KKK and chu-chu-wa. A fat bank account can be there in next months or by 2016. As PersiNoynoy had already said talking about his KKK-Puno, kung milyon lang from graft and influence-peddling, ano ba naman iyon, maliit na bagay lang iyon!!!

  6. Super googler p-noy wants to take credit for the overpriced arms deal – which puno says was not overpriced – and that he instigated robredos invrstigation which did not involve probe of puno – which contradicts what leni robredo and de lima was saying – no wonder de lima has cancelled twice this week to appear on karen davila. They all contradict themselves and each other everytime they open their mouth.
    New orders – keep your mouth shut and try to shut down senate/house investigations.
    I think p-noy was googling ‘ boys and their @#$ks’ and typed glocks by mistake.
    More bang for your buck, as puno likes to say.

    a convenient death with impeccable timing and now dead men cant tell the truth and leni wont risk it.

    1. @libertas

      Yes, PNoy was trying to project an image of someone who came to the rescue and stopped the purchase of the “overpriced” rifles from a suspicious arms dealer after he used Google to search for a better price. Goes to show that his friend Puno might not even know how to use a search engine. He’s not even qualified for an admin assistant post if that is the case.

      I wonder if PNoy went to Ebay as well? 😉

  7. and speaking of google
    i notice if u search word strings written in comments section they sometimes appear in search result for a day or so and then not found.
    presumably there is site censorship happening in the philippines – applies to comments only not main articles on google search. they used to appear in search/ were retrievable. no longer.
    sieg heil

    1. One search that has not been censored by the palace. Google “noynoy” + a certain word that rhymes with may,play or day. That is functioning and can shed light on the Matthew Parkes question.

      1. Another option is to use the main Google search without the .ph extension. The blockers don’t seem to affect that one. And, yes, I have seen the articles about BS’s homosexuality. I wonder if this will be made public on Friday?

  8. leni robredo cant attend senate hearing because she is in mourning.
    doesnt seem to stop her parading herself and her daughters on every tv talk show going!
    an entertainment career beckons for someone
    jesse would roll over in his ashes

  9. too many to censor and too many to deny.
    at ibm we developed voice based lie detection, now in use by uk govt agencies. fraud detection for social security applicants.
    wish i could use it here on a phone call with p-noy.
    not that i have doubt but just to expose the deceit and hypocrisy of the boy.

  10. Looks like the fat boy(Puno)knows everything about BSA. Does he control the president through a closet advisory relationship or is it the other way around?

    Party to dark secrets and shady deals is the name of the game. Is he the main man or just one of the Rasputins of the Palace beside the smelly river? I might place a bet with anyone here that fat boy will get away with it. He might be given another position.

    But hey, the man behind Daang Matuwid will suffer the most in collateral damage. Should the family elders advise him to cut clean… He will do this as a matter of political survival. His mindset and course of action on the matter will reveal his true colors.

  11. the critical link is the company bs aquino formed in ?87/88 – bsa security – with puno, to trade in arms.
    few records exist but the word is that they were selling arms and providing hacienda luisita security, both of which have skeletons.
    not exactly an advocacy for the betterment of the country, just personal greed/self interest
    hence nothing is known about punos background and little in reality about p-noy.
    they both operated in a shady and secretive world where staying under the radar was the best business policy.
    he is very evasive if ever asked about his background.
    puno has the goods on p-noy. thats why blabbermouth said he can control him. arrogance with stupidity.
    and curious puno said p-noy had charged him to do the arms deals and nothing else.
    once a purveyor in death always a man not to be trusted

        1. Ilda, I am an avid reader of GRP and I missed your investigative articles. Did you get married(good for you, sad for me)? But this Puno/BS Aquino issue is a bombshell.Please continue pounding on it. Could there be an Aquino/Enrile connection too? The senate presided by the kangaroo court lawyer is now investigating such a mundane case of maltreatment of a maid and yet Enrile is hesitating to investigate a national concern of epic proportions as the Puno case.

        2. @RF Garcia

          I travelled far to go to a funeral, actually. And then went on a road trip. Thanks for your concern. And thank you for reading GRP! 😉

          I read about that senate inquiry regarding the maid that was abused using a hot iron. Terrible news, indeed. I wonder what legislation they are trying to review along with that?

          Well, I hope Miriam has ready response to Enrile regarding his plans to question the validity of the investigation on Puno. Our law enforcement agencies should be looking into it but Puno’s got a hold on them, obviously. The ombudsman should take over this case.

      1. The only marriage we are discussing in this thread is the one between Noynoy and Puno. That is true love against the odds. And a chance the president has to take.

  12. the arms deals under the cory govt were brokered by – surprise, surprise BSA security – p-noy’s company.
    now we see a repeat. govt contracts for arms – p-noys pet passion being the centre of corruption.
    no wonder he wanted to micromanage the arms contracts and ensure robredo was contained. he was too honest for his own health.
    if you can massacre farmers then you see life/people as cheap and expendable

  13. We have gone to the level of the operation of the “Cosa Nostra” of Italy. The pattern of the American Mafia. High government officials are involved , or are members of the Italy’s “Cosa Nostra”. The former Italy’s Prime Minister Belusconi, was even suspected, as a member. They make money by: gambling; government contracts; extortion; prostitution; drug dealings; illegal arms dealings; etc…It is a multi billion dollars operation. The members are sworn to follow the “Omerta”, or the Code of Silence. Police officers are even required to wear masks, to hide their identities, when they arrest them. For fear of retribution on themselves and their families…Hacienda Luisita Mafia is following the pattern…

  14. Lacierda seems badly worried about the RicoPUno gun-smuggling item. Malakanyang just unleashed one of its most powerful weapon — diversionary.

    In the news???? Noyi-Noy’s love life//plans for Christmas. In Inquirer goes:

    President Benigno Aquino plans to have something especially “hot” this Christmas.

    Before anyone gets the idea that the country’s most eligible bachelor—who has had no steady date since his last reported squeeze, Manila-based Korean television host Grace Lee—

  15. things must be bad in malacanan.
    non-journalist/propaganist espinoso spouting lies in defense of puno. shame he cannot prove he is a journalist.
    talk of aquinos love life! how desperate
    kris aquino using tv show for propaganda. unethical
    punos daughter defending father. sad.

    so many weak men always needing to hide behind women in philippine politics!

  16. as i earlier predicted, the puno probe would be sabotaged.
    a sham decocracy with no need for cowardly/self-interested senators.
    so much effort to hide the truth and protect the sham illusion of honesty!
    the administration and p-noy adds sheer hypocricy to its corrupt nature.
    what disgusting little people we have in politics

    1. Manong Johnny… hindi na kami happy! Bakit suot mo na ang salamin na dilaw? Ibig ba sabihin maka-dilaw na ang paningin mo? Bakit ganoon kayo sa Senado? Para kayong lumuhod nang lahat kay Haring BSA. Make us happy again! Show your guts and principles and stand up against the dic!

  17. After seeing rico puno in the senate hearing it is clear that he is an obnoxious uncouth oaf lying through his teeth.
    What trash

  18. I looked at some of the articles pertaining to the “anomalous rifles” deal that got Puno into trouble. I am not convinced that it is really anomalous. I do not see any evidence to support this charge.

    What is even more disturbing is the fact that BS Aquino stopped the deal based on a google search. Talk about micro management.

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