By Hannah Torregoza
Amid a looming leadership change, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Thursday asserted that outgoing Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II is going to be an asset at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Lacson made the statement following reports of some sectors questioning the former soldier and coup plotter’s capability to head the DICT.
“(He is) qualified…malawak naman ang experience ni Sen. Honasan sa information security management. He also became chairman of the (Senate) committee on national defense. Even when he was with the military service, he was managing information security,” Lacson said in a Kapihan sa Senado forum.
“So kung qualifications at qualifications ang pinag uusapan, I think he can defend himself as qualified to be appointed secretary of DICT,” the senator added.
Lacson also said he believes Honasan working with DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. would bode well for the DICT especially now with the introduction of a new third telecommunications company in the offing.
“I think between, Secretary Rio and Sen. Honasan, their combination would be a very good combination, because Honasan’s managerial and leadership qualities is unquestionable, and if you consider acting secretary Rio’s technical expertise, it will do well at the DICT,” Lacson said.
Rio has been quoted as saying he supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to appoint Honasan as the new DICT and is prepared to help the senator to succeed at his new job.
In an earlier interview, Rio appealed that he be given more time to be at the forefront of the DICT to finalize the entry of the third telco player, which they approved last Nov. 7. The winning bidder is a venture between Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp. and state-run China Telecom.
This despite, some sectors criticizing Duterte’s choice of Honasan for the post, alleging he has unqualified to head the DICT.
Under Section 11 of Republic Act 10844, the DICT secretary, undersecretary and assistant secretary should have at least seven years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology, information technology service management, information security management, cyber-security, data privacy, e-Commerce, or human capital development in the ICT sector.
Lacson, however said Honasan is expected to take over Rio’s post in January.
“The latest I heard from Sen Gringo, talaga naman mga January. They were able to talk and he explained to acting Secretary Rio he doesn’t have to take over immediately because he will be nominated.
“Upon nomination he will have to submit documentary requirements to the CA (Commission on Appointments) and he will have to undergo confirmation proceedings. And then he will have to take his oath pa so give or take January siya mag-takeover,” Lacson explained.
He said the acting secretary and Honasan had long been coordinating the take over proceedings very closely even before the President announced his appointment.
“When he was offered the post, he immediately consulted Secretary Rio because he was a former professor at the PMA (Philippine Military Academy). So they go a long way,” the senator said.