Duterte appoints his ex-lawyer as overall deputy ombudsman; ex-PNPA chief joins Dangerous Drugs Board

Published November 27, 2020, 8:20 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has named his former lawyer Warren Rex Hernandez Liong as overall deputy ombudsman (ODO), the second-highest position in the Office of the Ombudsman.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

In a statement, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that President Duterte appointed Hernandez to the position on November 24 for a term of seven years.

He expressed confidence that Liong will be able to do his task well and live up to the President’s standards for transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

“We are confident that Mr. Liong similarly shares these ideals as our quest for good governance remains unyielding and uncompromising,” he said.

“The challenges may be enormous but we are hopeful that Mr. Liong is up to the task to accomplish his mandate,” he added.

Prior to his appointment, Liong, who earned his accountancy degree from De La Salle University in 1999, was a director at the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Services (DBM-PS).

Liong served as Duterte’s lawyer from August 2010 to June 2013, when the President was serving as Vice Mayor of Davao City. Liong likewise gave legal advice to Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, Duterte’s local political party in Davao City.

Dangerous Drugs Board

Meanwhile, President Duterte also named former Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Director Maj. Gen. Gilbert Cruz as a permanent member of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

According to Roque, Duterte appointed Cruz, who recently retired from service, to the position on November 24. He is scheduled to take his oath of office before the DDB chairman Secretary Catalino Cuy on December 2.

In a statement, Roque said Cruz’s appointment was relevant given that the anti-illegal drugs campaign is one of President Duterte’s priority programs.

“The fight against illegal drugs is the centerpiece program of the Duterte Administration. We, therefore, consider the appointment of Mr. Cruz as timely and relevant to his previous work at the Philippine National Police,” he said.

As the new permanent member of the DDB, Cruz will form part of the inter-agency body tasked to create policies and develop strategies to address the country’s drug problem.

Before his appointment, Cruz was the Regional Director of Police Regional Office 13 from September 2018 to September 2019 and Police Regional Office 8 from August 2017 to May 2018.