Cabinet choices Duterte’s own ‘KKK’
DAVAO CITY—At first blush, Rodrigo Duterte’s choices for prime positions in his First Family aren’t any different from the mold of that of his predecessor.
Key posts are reserved for classmates and aides who have served Duterte as mayor of Davao City for two decades in the same mold of President Aquino’s KKK crowd—kaibigan, kaklase, kabarilan.
The presumptive President-elect announced on Monday some names that would compose his Cabinet at his first news conference since the elections last week gave him a record mandate to rule the nation for the next six years.
Duterte said he had offered the finance portfolio to his childhood friend and class valedictorian, Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III, who served as agriculture secretary under President Cory Aquino.
He said he wanted Arthur Tugade, his classmate at San Beda law school, as transportation secretary. Tugade previously headed Clark Development Corp.
Duterte said he offered the position of secretary of justice or foreign affairs to his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, but he can assume either position after the one-year ban on appointment of losing candidates.
Former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Perfecto Yasay would be foreign secretary in an acting capacity for a year, although Yasay said he was currently handling classes in a US university, according to Duterte.
Salvador Medialdea, a lawyer and member of the transition committee, has been offered the post of executive secretary, Duterte said.
Duterte said lawyer Salvador Panelo would take charge of the press as his spokesperson.
For education secretary, Duterte said he had chosen Peter Laurel, the president of Lyceum of the Philippines University. Laurel’s father was former Sen. Sotero Laurel, a brother of the late Vice President Salvador Laurel.
Top public servant
Duterte was also expected to meet with former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr., whose name was recently floated as among the choices for secretary of national defense. Duterte has spoken highly of Teodoro, even calling him a top public servant. Teodoro ran for President in 2010.
On Sunday, Duterte met with three former Davao City police chiefs who were reportedly among those considered to become the next Philippine National Police director general under his administration.
PNP Director General Ricardo Marquez has said he would submit his courtesy resignation upon Duterte’s assumption of office to give the new President a freehand in choosing the next police chief.
Present at the dinner-meeting held at Hotel Elena was the Southern Luzon Command chief, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, whom Duterte said was being considered as the next Armed Forces chief of staff.
It was still not clear whom Duterte would pick between Senior Supt. Rene Aspera, Chief Supt. Ramon Apolinario and Chief Supt. Ronald dela Rosa as replacement for Marquez.
But this early, Dela Rosa appears to be on top of the choices.
Dela Rosa, who was city police chief from 2011 to 2013, is a member of Class 1986 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and is known to be hardworking.
He was largely credited for the drastic reduction in the volume of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) in the city when he implemented Oplan “Tukhang” (Tuktok-Hangyo), which saw police authorities knocking on the doors of suspected drug pushers and asking them to stop.
Aspera, a member of PMA Class 1987, was Dela Rosa’s immediate predecessor. Under his command, the city police reaped awards, including best police office under the city category.
Apolinario, a member of PMA Class 1985, was the city police director when authorities discovered 16-kilograms of high-grade cocaine in a container yard here in December 2009. Apolinario is currently police director of Mimaropa and will be retiring on Aug. 31, 2018.
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