Palace exec: Duterte satisfied with performance of tourism chief
MANILA, Philippines — The President has expressed satisfaction with the performance of Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as tourism secretary despite the complaints of Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte against her character and management style.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles noted that the President continues to be “all praises” and “very warm” toward Puyat during Cabinet meetings.
“The full trust and confidence of the President in Secretary Berna obviously continues. We all know that Secretary Berna has done many good things as far as tourism is concerned,” Nograles told reporters on Friday.
Nograles, a former lawmaker, said he was unaware of any complaints against Puyat that might have reached the President himself.
He noted that the country’s tourism figures improved under Puyat’s watch.
The younger Duterte delivered a tongue-lashing against Puyat on Thursday night during a speech at the House of Representatives.
Without going into detail, the eldest son of President Duterte said he felt compelled to expose Puyat’s true colors after he was apparently dissatisfied with her response when they met recently to address “complaints and grievances” received by his office about the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“It has come to my attention that there have been several complaints on the management style of Secretary Romulo-Puyat in relation to the approval of contracts and projects in her department,” Duterte said in a manifestation on the plenary floor.
He did not say which contracts and projects he was referring to and kept all other details vague.
The President’s son said he had intended to confront the DOT head during the Sept. 17 deliberations on her agency’s proposed 2020 budget, but was advised against it by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who mediated and arranged a meeting between them.
“Hence, following the established procedure in the House, I sat down with the Speaker and Secretary Romulo-Puyat to discuss my concerns regarding her department,” Duterte said.
The Inquirer tried to reach Puyat but she did not respond to text messages.