THE P1.3-billion national free WiFi project succeeded before he left office, the former acting chief of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Monday, after the House of Representatives approved the blue ribbon committee’s report suggesting that there should be charges filed against him over the “botched” project. 

Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. — who was appointed DICT undersecretary in 2016 and served as acting secretary from Oct. 2017 to June 2019 — said he has not received a copy of the panel’s report.

“…When I left DICT on May 22, 2020, the program was doing well. It was a Program in partnership with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), a UN body that has helped Philippine development programs since 1946 and was never tainted by corruption issues,” Mr. Rio told BusinessWorld via Viber. 

“It was ‘botched’ AFTER I left DICT,” he added. 

Representative Michael Edgar Y. Aglipay, committee on accountability chair, recommended that Mr. Rio be charged for violating the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and the Anti-Graft and Corruption Act. 

The panel also recommended the filing of charges relating to the alleged undervaluation of imported IT equipment. 

“I will face whatever charges that would be leveled against me, but since I partnered with UNDP, they should also press charges against UNDP. See how ridiculous that would be,” he said. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan