Rody finalizes Cabinet

By Edith Regalado
Rody finalizes Cabinet

DAVAO CITY – A day after skipping his proclamation in Manila, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte yesterday announced new names to his Cabinet as he gave marching orders to his earlier appointees, during a meeting at the “Malacañang of the South” here.

“It took me several days to choose… I can assure you they are all men of integrity,” he said. “It will really be an inclusive government.”

The meeting, held at a guesthouse of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) depot in Barangay Panacan, came after the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint session declared Duterte the 16th president of the country, garnering 16,601,997 votes in the final and official tally against Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II’s 9,978,175 votes.

In a press briefing, Duterte’s staff distributed to reporters copies of Duterte’s list of appointees to the remaining vacant Cabinet posts.

In the list, former South Cotabato governor Mike Sueño was named secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, with Catalino Cuy – a former Davao City policeman – as undersecretary.

Cuy headed the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) before the Mamasapano tragedy in January last year.

Named new chief of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) was lawyer Martin Delgra, while retired general and former police chief for Southern Mindanao Jaime Morente was appointed head of the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Fortunato dela Peña, an undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will be the department’s new chief.

Former military commander Ricardo Jalad is listed as head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Former Davao City Police chief Isidro Lapeña would take the helm of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

From being regional director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for Southern Mindanao, lawyer Dante Gierran will be the agency’s new chief under the Duterte administration.

To head the Department of Agrarian Reform is former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, while former national treasurer Leonor Briones will assume the top education post.

The top defense post will go to retired Army general and former defense attaché to the US Delfin Lorenzana. The list also confirmed Benjamin Diokno’s acceptance of Duterte’s offer to again head the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Duterte said Briones has the competence and dedication to supervise the implementation of the K-12 program, with only two weeks to go before the opening of classes.

Critics said the country is not yet prepared for the program, which they said could leave many teachers jobless.

“She is quite familiar with the problem we are facing with the implementation of K-12,” Duterte said.

He cited Briones as an advocate of budget reforms and transparency in government spending.

Duterte earlier said he was skipping his Manila proclamation so he could finish assembling his Cabinet before his inauguration on June 30.

The outgoing mayor of this city said he wanted to personally go over documents and papers from individuals being considered for Cabinet posts so only those he could trust and rely upon would be included in his official family.

Those who arrived for the meeting were Carlos Dominguez III (Finance), Vitaliano Aguirre (Justice), Mark Villar (Public Works and Highways), Salvador Panelo (presidential spokesman), Ernesto Pernia, (director general of the National Economic and Development Authority), Salvador Meldiadea (executive secretary), Perfecto Yasay (Foreign Affairs), Silvestre Bello III (Labor) and Alfonso Cusi (Energy).

Also at the meeting were University of the Philippines professor Judy Taguiwalo (Social Welfare), Jesus Dureza (peace process) and Nicanor Faeldon (Customs). – With Alexis Romero, Paolo Romero