By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

MALACAÑANG on Thursday announced that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has fired Director-General Nela Charade G. Puno of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for alleged “graft and corruption.”

In a press briefing at the Palace on Thursday afternoon, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo read out a May 15 termination letter addressed to Ms. Puno, saying: “Please be advised that, upon instructions of the President, your appointment as Director General of the Food and Drugs Authority, Department of Health, is hereby terminated, effective immediately.”

According to Mr. Panelo, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea signed the letter for the President.

Mr. Panelo said Ms. Puno’s termination is “in line with the President’s continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption and to ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust.”

“To assure uninterrupted delivery of public services, you are hereby directed to immediately turn over all official documents, papers, and properties in your possession to the Office of the Undersecretary for Health Regulation, Department of Health,” he also said.

Ms. Puno was sought for comment but had yet to respond as of this reporting early Thursday evening.

It will be recalled that Ms. Puno survived an ambush in October last year, on her way to Daet, Camarines Norte. Her three police escorts were killed.

Last month, Mr. Duterte announced before flying to Beijing for the second Built and Road Forum that he would issue dismissal letters against corrupt officials.

He said that to address the country’s corruption problem, he has to do something “more than just a warning.”