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Paras’ camp hits back at OFW group over ‘unfair’ comment

The camp of former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras cried foul over the “unfair” portrayal of him by an overseas Filipino workers (OFW) organization, which denounced his looming appointment to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Responding to an INQUIRER.net report, Paras’ lawyer, Manuelito Luna, took swipe at Advocates and Keepers of OFWs (AKO), which opposed the former lawmaker’s rumored appointment as POEA administrator for his “lack of experience.”

“I am saddened by my reading of an attack against the person of Atty Jacinto Paras in the Inquirer. The news is totally unfair that a purported OFW organization to claim that Atty. Jacinto Paras is not qualified to be appointed by the President as head of any government office, POEA in particular, for lack of experience or qualification,” Luna said in a statement on Monday.

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“Atty. Paras a former Congressman for three terms, a graduate of the UP College of Law and has been Chairman, President or CEO of some government corporations and private corporations in the past is highly qualified to manage and run any government department or agency for that matter,” he added.

READ: OFW group denounces looming appointment of ex-Rep. Paras as POEA head

Luna debunked corruption allegations against Paras, saying that the former lawmaker “has been an advocate of fighting corruption,” as proven by the cases he had filed against corrupt officials, including the impeachment complaint against former elections chief Andres Bautista.

“To date, no accuser has brought corruption charges against him in any court or tribunal,” Luna said.

“The issue of the Gang Of Five whereby certain congressmen were accused of being bribed by telcos to slow down the investigation against them has long been demolished when the Committee on Ethics of the House found no basis for such allegation of bribery,” he added.

Luna said Paras had “never sought or applied for a government position including that of POEA” and such opposition to his appointment was “premature.”

“If ever his name was mentioned as a possible appointee, it is because the President may have wanted to appoint very qualified persons and whom he personally know and has confidence in such persons,” he noted.

“The premature opposition by a group of so-called OFWs only showed that this group may have a vested interest, as they may have supported a candidate for head of POEA who is an insider and it turned out that the President chose another, hence they are attacking the possible appointee or candidate for the job,” he added.

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On Saturday, AKO said it would be a “mistake and disastrous move” for President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a former politician, who has no previous knowledge or inkling of the operations of the POEA.     /kga

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