Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is taking a leave of absence as president of the Liberal Party in view of the 2013 elections and to be able to focus on his job, and President Benigno Aquino has accepted this decision.
"To remove any suspicion, I deemed it best to take a leave of absence, and this has been accepted by the President," Roxas told reporters after taking his oath as Interior Secretary before the President at Philippine Palace Reception Hall.
By taking a leave of absence, Roxas said, he could focus on his job at the Department of Interior and Local Government and "faithfully perform" his job.
Roxas said his first act as interior secretary on Monday would be to file a leave of absence from the party presidency, and submit this to the president.
He is taking over from the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash last August 18.
Roxas could not immediately say who would succeed him as party president, and said party rules provide a mechanism for succession.
Under the rules, the party's executive vice president (EVP) would assume a vacancy in the presidency, but that position was held by the late Robredo.
Roxas said that the party secretary general, incoming Transportation Secretary Joseph E.A. Abaya, would move up as the new EVP. But the party would decide whether Abaya or the LP vice president, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, would assume the presidency.