Clark Dev’t Corp chief denies corruption claims, goes on leave
MANILA, Philippines – Clark Development Corporation President and CEO Noel Manankil on Thursday, June 29, denied corruption allegations against him as he announced that he was taking a leave of absence starting that day to allow an "unimpeded" investigation into the claim.
Manankil made the statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was set to sack a government official based in the Clark Freeport Zone for alleged corruption. (READ: Duterte wants Clark Dev't Corp president fired)
In his speeches during two public engagements on Wednesday – first in Clark Air Base in Pampanga and then at the Manila Hotel – Duterte said he was about to fire an official in Clark because of reports that the official allegedly asked for P2 million from Clark locators seeking permits from the CDC.
The President did not name the official but several sources had confirmed to Rappler that he referred to Manankil. The Chief Executive reportedly told the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board meeting on Tuesday, June 27, that he would sack the CDC chief.
Even without an official confirmation from Malacañang, Manankil released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying that he "read with regret and sadness" the news report naming him "as the official of the Clark Development Corporation allegedly involved in corruption."
"Because I am aware and that I adhere to the position of the President against corruption – even just hints of it – I fully submit to an impartial investigation on the allegations," he said.
Manankil maintained his innocence, noting that in his over two decades of service to the CDC, "I have never been involved in anything illegal in Clark."
"I would like to categorically and very strongly deny any involvement in the alleged anomaly of demanding bribes from Clark locators," he said.
“In the meantime, I am voluntarily taking a leave of absence effective today to allow the investigations to proceed unimpeded. I leave my fate to God, even confident that truth and justice will prevail,” Manankil added.
Manankil was CDC vice president for finance administration when Duterte, upon the recommendation of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, appointed him as CDC president and CEO.
He rose from the ranks in the CDC, which he first served as an analyst at the corporate planning department in 1996, according to a Philippine Star report.