Palace on Cabinet revamp: Another one bites the dust

Published April 6, 2018, 12:58 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

It seems like President Duterte is not yet done in revamping his Cabinet as Malacañang said there is another official who will bite the dust.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque hinted on the impending move of the President in a TV interview Friday night. However, Roque said he was told to withhold the information for now.

“There is another one. But, let’s wait for the next week please. Too much information,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines Friday night.

“Unfortunately, I work for a principal — the President, and I can’t announce unless he tells me to do so. The President mentioned, ‘Maybe we’ll announce it next week.'” he added.

“It’s a line agency. A department, it’s a department. I might be next in the chopping block. So, I’ll leave you at that,” he continued.

Only on Thursday, Duterte said he accepted the resignation of Vitaliano Aguirre II as Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and immediately signed the ad interim appointment of Senior Deputy Executive Secretary undersecretary Menardo Guevarra to the post.

Before the Holy Week, President Duterte said he is not anymore satisfied with the performance of some of his Cabinet members. Although not going into details, the President furthered in another event that heads will roll once he returns to Manila after the Lenten break.

Talks of a Cabinet revamp sparked after Duterte expressed his disappointment about the DOJ’s decision to dismiss the charges against high-profile drug suspects Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim, among others.

Roque earlier confirmed that Duterte is unhappy with the performance of some members of his Cabinet.

“Talagang sabi niya na merong mga secretary na hindi siya happy sa performance at magkakaroon nga daw po ng mga pagbabago sa Gabinete (He really said he was not happy with the performance of some of his secretaries and there will be changes in the Cabinet),” Roque said in a television interview.

Several changes have been made in Duterte’s Cabinet over the last two years that the President has been in office, with Duterte revealing that he asked some officials to resign, while some were fired by him.

The officials Duterte fired or asked to resign over lost of trust and confidence include former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) head Peter Laviña, former Interior secretary Ismael Sueno, and former Information and Communications Technology secretary Rodolfo Salalima.

Duterte fired Sueno in April last year due to “loss of trust and confidence,” following his alleged involvement in corruption as raised by three DILG undersecretaries. Sueno was linked to the supposedly anomalous fire truck deal with the Austrian government.

The President meanwhile revealed that he asked Salalima to resign due to conflict of interest and for not attending to proposals of other foreign companies to set up a telecommunications company in the country.

Duterte was also in a crusade of firing officials who made “unnecessary” junkets. These included all commissioners of the Philippine Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP), including its chairperson Terry Ridon, and former Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan.