Mar Roxas to go on leave as LP head
When Interior Secretary Mar Roxas assumes his new post on Monday, the first order of business for him will be to file a leave of absence as Liberal Party (LP) president to preclude any conflict-of-interest situations with respect to the 2013 elections.
Roxas announced this Saturday after taking his oath before President Aquino in Malacañang. He said the President, who initially expressed surprise, has accepted his 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 emerging from a meeting with Mr. Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad following his oath-taking.
Roxas, who takes over the post left vacant by the untimely death last month of Jesse Robredo, did not indicate the duration of his leave of absence.
Prudent thing to do
He said taking a temporary leave from the LP party presidency was the prudent thing to do since the Philippine National Police, which will be directly under his supervision, would be deputized to help in the polls by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
He would then be able to avoid any perceived conflict between his duties at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and his party role, and could entirely focus on his new job, Roxas said.
“We’re all human. I’m trying to remove, lessen or avoid all possible causes of conflict so I can faithfully and rightly perform my job. Will I commit a mistake? Yes. Will I correct my mistake? Yes. The point here is that the job given by the President is a serious job, and I will seriously do this,” he said.
Freed of his party functions, he would not need to do any balancing act and would enjoy “peace” in his new job, he said.
The DILG post is seen as crucial in marshaling support form local executives for the President’s agenda, including his election goals.
Roxas’ assumption of the DILG post on Monday coincides with the start of the filing of candidacy certificates and the proclamation of the administration coalition’s senatorial candidates for 2013.
His oath-taking at the Palace Reception Hall was witnessed by members of his family—his wife, Korina Sanchez, son Paolo and mother Judy Araneta-Roxas—Robredo’s widow, Leni, and a number of Cabinet and party officials.
Robredo died on Aug. 18 in a plane crash in the waters off Masbate City.
Roxas could not immediately say who would succeed him as LP president, but pointed out that party rules provide a mechanism for succession in case of a vacancy.
Under the rules, the executive vice president (EVP) would assume a vacant post. Robredo held that post at the time of his death.
According to Roxas, the LP secretary general, incoming Transportation Secretary Joseph E. A. Abaya, would move up to the EVP post. But the party would have to decide whether Abaya or LP vice president, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, would assume the presidency.
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