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PIA chief says corruption claims meant to stop raps vs erring subordinates

MANILA – The head of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on Thursday claimed that corruption allegations against him were the handiwork of some of his subordinates engaged in irregularities that involve millions in public funds.

PIA Director General Harold Clavite said he was set to file charges this month against some employees after finding out that the Finance Management Division sent funds to regional offices without his approval.

The transactions ranged from P5,000 to P500,000, he told ANC.

Clavite also said that a fact-finding committee he organized last year found that “there have been hidden funds from previous years, and we’re talking about millions of pesos here.”

“They’re trying to find ways to stop me from filing these cases,” he said of his allegedly erring subordinates.

Clavite is under investigation due to allegations of corruption, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said earlier this week. The PIA is under the Presidential Communications Operations Office headed by Andanar.

Clavite earlier said the allegations against him were based on an anonymous letter sent to Andanar. He said it was “unfair” that the investigation against him was made public even though he has yet to respond formally.

Andanar, he claimed, is “very close” with a PIA official who “is the mastermind of the demolition job against me.”

This official, Clavite claimed, “used the emotions of the permanent staff in PIA who got hurt by the changes I did,” including the suspension of a rice subsidy flagged by state auditors, the prohibition of social media use during work hours and acceptance of gifts from regional offices.

“As long as the President would allow me to continue, I would continue doing all these reforms. But if the President tells me that it’s time for me to go, then definitely I would go,” he said.