The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lambasted former Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) chair Imelda Nicolas for spreading fake news about DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s recent trip to Cebu City.

“That’s nothing but fake news,” DENR Undersecretary and Spokesperson Benny D. Antiporda said in reaction to the allegations Nicolas made on Facebook last June 25.

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 she was talking about? Secretary Cimatu went to Cebu with just one aide,” Antiporda explained.

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

Cimatu was in the so-called Queen City of the South from June 23 to 25 as part of his job as COVID-19 response chief for Visayas.

The former Armed Forces chief has been tasked 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.

Antiporda said Cimatu would not be sidetracked by such false allegations that were intended to undermine the government’s efforts to fight 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 (Nicolas),” Antiporda said. #