Duterte defends appointment of Davao people in gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday defended the appointment of his people from Davao City to various offices in the government, including Christopher Lloyd Lao’s, saying he was only repaying a debt of gratitude.
He made the defense after senators questioned Lao’s appointment, who was the former head of the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, which purchased allegedly overpriced medical supplies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Senators speculated Lao is well-connected to be able to secure the post.
Duterte said that it his prerogative to appoint people he knows and trust, pointing out that Lao is his “fraternal brother” who is a member of his campaign team in 2016 and who has extended legal assistance when he was still Davao City mayor.
“For the senators, do not question who I appoint to the agencies in the executive branch. I am the sole appointing authority,” he said in a public address aired on Tuesday morning.
“You do not have the ascendancy to question this executive prerogative. Ano masama kung magbayad ako ng utang [na loob]? When was elected, they applied. Of course, I accepted their application,” he added.
“I know them and I trust them and just like I trust all other people appointed from Davao City,” he continued.
During a Senate hearing on August 27, Lao was grilled by senators on how he secured his former post and who recommended him, to which the former DBM official said no one recommended him and he only applied for the position.
Duterte dared senators to have Lao, or his other appointees, jailed if they found any wrongdoing.
“Itong fraternity brothers kung sabihin mo may na-COA, may nakita kayo na mali, ipakulong ninyo. Wala sa usapan ‘yung pwesto sila magnakaw, ipakulong ninyo,” he said.
(If you found wrongdoings, have them jailed. It is out of the question whether I put them there to be corrupt.)
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