Tung Chee-hwa was accused of holding double standards yesterday after defending his senior aide, Andrew Lo Cheung-on, in the Robert Chung opinion poll saga while proposing to raise the accountability of officials. In his Policy Address on Wednesday, Mr Tung said he had ordered a study on improving the accountability of senior officials. Mr Lo, the Chief Executive's senior special assistant, allegedly pressured University of Hong Kong pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu to stop carrying out surveys on Mr Tung's popularity. An inquiry into the allegations described Mr Lo as a 'poor and untruthful witness', prompting Mr Tung to defend him as 'an honest and reliable person'. At a question-and-answer session of the newly elected Legco on his Policy Address yesterday, Mr Tung said he would have nothing to tell a Legco committee of inquiry into the Robert Chung affair, a proposal mooted by pro-democracy members. He had come to the conclusion that Mr Lo had done nothing wrong. Mr Tung said officials would not necessarily be sacked for their faults. He emphasised that the Government would move cautiously in the direction of raising accountability. The issues to be studied include how principal officials will be employed and their responsibilities in formulating and implementing policies. Mr Tung said professional expertise might have to be brought in from outside to help run bureaus. Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming wondered if Mr Tung had confused the roles of public servant and domestic servant, referring to his long relationship with Mr Lo. He also asked how Mr Tung could convince others he was sincere in increasing accountability while Mr Lo and Director of Housing Tony Miller remained in office. Mr Miller was censured in June with a Legco no-confidence motion over construction scandals. During a radio phone-in yesterday, Mr Tung said public response to his speech was generally positive. But many callers appeared less sympathetic. Some urged him to stop attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies and meet legislators more regularly. Another caller asked: 'Is it true that as long as you say someone is reliable, no matter what one does, one does not have to shoulder responsibility? What's the meaning of raising accountability?' Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang and all principal officials pledged to support the review but said the role of officials needed to be clarified. Mrs Chan said the review did not imply the existing system lacked accountability. 'However, the existing system has not taken into consideration political responsibility,' she said. 'We would welcome a thorough appraisal of the current system so that in the future the part to be played by principal officials in the formulation and determination of policy is clearly spelled out. And on that basis we can define where accountability should rest.' A principal official said he believed policy secretaries would consider the size of the golden handshakes they would receive if they were allowed to be employed on contract terms. Another senior official admitted contract terms would offer less job security. 'However, we should not consider our own interests. The public interest and raising accountability should be the priority factors,' the official said.