Duterte to dismiss one undersecretary

Published April 7, 2018, 10:13 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte is staying true to his promise during the Lenten break as he is set to fire one undersecretary.

Duterte, in a speech at a dinner concert in Pasay City Thursday night, said that there will be more government officials who will soon bite the dust.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

“Marami pa (There will be more). I’ll be firing about one undersecretary, one after the other. Ubusin ko talaga ‘yan (I will really finish them all off),” Duterte said.

The President, however, recognized that his appointees are the first to go instead of officials who were appointed by his predecessors.

“And to think, in fairness also to President [Benigno] Aquino [III] and to President [Gloria Macapagal] Arroyo, so far, ang lahat nabigyan ko ‘yung tao (all those I have fired), even the Cabinet member, the first to go mga tao ko (were my people),” Duterte pointed out.

“As I have said, I’m not perfect. I cannot even compare my term with President Arroyo and I refuse to make comparisons with Aquino. He might have been more, circumspect than I am,” he added.

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

This week, Duterte accepted the resignation of Vitaliano Aguirre as Justice Secretary. The President immediately appointed Senior Deputy Executive Secretary (SDES) Menardo Guevarra to the vacated post.

On Thursday night, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Duterte is not yet done with the Cabinet revamp and confirmed that another government official was going to be on the chopping block.

“There is another one. But, let’s wait for the next week please. Too much information,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines Thursday 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. It’s a department. I might be next in the chopping block. So, I’ll leave you at that,” he continued.

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.

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 loss 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