An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has slammed former Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) chair Imelda Nicolas for spreading fake news about the recent trip to Cebu City of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

“That’s nothing but fake news,” DENR Undersecretary and spokesperson Benny Antiporda said in reaction to the allegations Nicolas made on Facebook recently.

In her Facebook post, Nicolas alleged that “70 rooms were reserved at Seda Hotel for Cimatu’s team” and pointed out that the cheapest room in that hotel costs P5,000.

“That’s P300,000 a day. For 1 week, that’s 2.240m,” she said.

Nicolas went further, saying: “This is just rooms. Cost of accommodation. You still have to factor in food and transportation.”

“How many PPEs and test kits can that buy? How many sacks of rice can that buy? Is this how you rid yourself of blame? Is this how you save lives?”

Antiporda dismissed Nicolas’ claims as “utterly baseless, unfounded, untrue and malicious.”

“What 70 rooms was she talking about? Secretary Cimatu went to Cebu with just one aide.”

“What 70 rooms was she talking about? Secretary Cimatu went to Cebu with just one aide,” the environment official explained.

He added: “Secretary Cimatu is a decent man. As a former soldier, he has good judgment in the use of resources. He is known to be prudent, not extravagant.”

The environment chief was in Cebu City from June 23 to 25 as part of his job as COVID-19 response chief for the Visayas.

The environment head was ordered by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to oversee the government’s COVID-19 response in Cebu City, which has recently seen a spike in coronavirus infections.

“Cimatu would not be sidetracked by such false allegations.”

Antiporda said Cimatu will not be sidetracked by such false allegations that were intended to undermine the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19.

He added that the DENR is studying the possibility of filing a case for cyber libel against Nicolas for spreading false information on social media.

“We are looking at filing a case against her,” Antiporda said.


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