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Paras says he was asked to leave DOLE presscon but denies rift with Bello


Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras on Wednesday dismissed speculations of a rift between him and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III after Bello asked him to leave a press conference on Tuesday.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Paras said he went to the presscon held at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office in Manila after he received the advisory from his staff.

He said he even shook Bello's hands before the start of the press conference.

However, Paras said he was "surprised" when Bello later on asked him to "get out."

"Sabi ko walang problema diyan. So I left," Paras said.

Despite this incident, Paras said he "will not take it against him (Bello)."

"I don't take things badly as that. Ako bilang subordinate niya I will just continue my work," he said.

"Baka he is in a bad mood. Hindi ko naman tini-take seriously 'yung ganon."

Paras speculated that Bello probably thought he has something to do with the extortion issue being hurled against the DOLE chief, since the whistle-blower has approached him.

"He thinks I may have something to do with 'yung mga nangyayari sa mga complaints against him. 'Yung whistle-blower was the one who approached me," he said.

In a separate interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Bello admitted that he asked Paras to leave but denied that he used the words "get out."

"Sabi ko, sa presscon, inimbitahan ko lang 'yung mga may sasabihin tungkol sa isyu," he said, adding that the agenda of the press conference did not involve Paras and his office.

"Sabi ko [kay Paras], kung maaari huwag ka munang sumali dito. Hindi ko naman sinabi na get out," Bello added.

Bello also denied involvement in the extortion issue that is said to be the reason behind the resignation of Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say in April.

"I will never do that, sa tagal ko sa gobyerno," he said, adding the whistle-blower — who owns a de-listed recruitment agency — has even wondered why his name is being dragged to the issue.

Bello added that the friend of the whistle-blower has admitted to him that they signed the affidavit about the extortion without actually reading it.

The extortion issue is now being investigated by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

Even though it was Paras who encouraged the whistle-blower to file the affidavit before PACC, Bello said he has no "bad blood" with the undersecretary. —KBK, GMA News

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