Duterte might choose another former military official to replace Piñol

Published July 17, 2019, 12:39 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Genalyn Kabiling

Another military man may join the Duterte Cabinet soon.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the appreciation dinner for House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at The Manila Hotel on July 9, 2019. (VALERIE ESCALERA / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Duterte has announced that he might choose a former military official to take the place of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol when he moves to head the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa).

“I’m scouting around. Maybe again a military man kasi madali mag-utos ng trabaho [because it’s easy to issue orders] and they do it without question,” the President said in a television interview early Wednesday morning.

“When I tell you do this or do that, do not question. I will never give you an order that is something illegal,” said Duterte who has appointed several retired military officials to the Cabinet and other government agencies.

The President said Piñol would serve as his point man to spur socioeconomic development in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). He described Piñol as a “very good Cabinet member,” believing he is qualified for the MinDA job due to his experience as a former North Cotabato governor and a farmer.

“It’s Pinol who is moving to another entity. Piñol is a very good Cabinet member,” he said.

At present, Duterte said no one was coordinating with the interim government of the Bangsamoro region about their needs.

“Ang problema ako kasi wala akong tao in BARMM [The problem is I don’t have a point man in BARMM]. There is is nobody on my side talking to the BARMM to make necessary arrangements for this entity to grow, and (address their) needs. It is an agricultural country and Piñol is a farmer who is once a governor and he was born there and he’s good, he’s really very good,” he said.

“Parang naiwanan natin [It is apparently left behind]. Nobody is talking to BARMM. What else do you want, what else do you need? What happens to this office? Will it be dissolved or you want to add another entity? Wala eh so I have to have my man there,” he added.

The President earlier said Bangsamoro region interim chief minister Murad Ebrahim has welcomed the transfer of Piñol as head of the Mindanao Development Authority. The two reportedly met last week to tackle updates about the progress in the new region.

Piñol earlier offered to be relieved from his post and reassigned to another agency including the MinDa.