By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has appointed Undersecretary Janet Abuel as acting Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Malacañang announced Tuesday.
Abuel, a lawyer and a certified public accountant, has served as officer-in-charge of the DBM since the President named Benjamin Diokno as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor last month.
“Yesterday night’s Cabinet meeting began with the President’s announcement of the appointment of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Officer-in-Charge / Undersecretary Janet Abuel as Acting Secretary,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
When asked if Abuel’s designation could be a violation of the appointment ban during the election period, Panelo later clarified that her appointment paper has not yet been issued.
He said the President merely made a “verbal” appointment of Abuel during the Cabinet meeting. He said when Duterte saw Abuel in the meeting, he told her she would be the acting Budget Secretary.
“Wala naman siyang formal appointment…Verbal lang ‘yun [She has no formal appointment yet. It was verbal],” he said in an interview with reporters at the Palace.
Abuel started her stint at the DBM as budget management analyst in 1996 and later as Director IV in 1999. She was named Regional Director of the DBM Regional Office and eventually promoted to Assistant Secretary in 2012. She was designated Undersecretary in 2018.
Abuel, a Bar topnotcher in 1998, holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
When she was named to lead the DBM as OIC, the Palace said she got the top post due to competence, integrity, and expertise.