Another Duterte pick: Alfonso Cusi to energy
Former Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Alfonso Cusi will be presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s secretary of energy, while former Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida will be his solicitor general.
Lawyer Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s spokesperson, told Inquirer.net in an interview that the Davao City mayor called him up at 1:30 a.m. on Friday and told him to announce the appointments of Cusi and Calida.
Panelo said Duterte did not explain why he chose Cusi and Calida. But the next Philippine leader always goes for “integrity and competence,” he said.
He said Duterte told him to tell Cusi and Calida that he wanted to meet them in Davao City. The meeting has yet to be set, he said.
Besides the MIAA, Cusi also served as head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Cusi was appointed director general of the CAAP in March 2010 but resigned nine months later after a very public dispute over the appointment without his knowledge of senior management officials at the agency.
In 2004, Cusi was implicated in alleged massive electoral fraud involving then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was cleared by the Ombudsman in 2012.
Cusi is currently chair of the Batangas-based shipping company Starlite Ferries Inc.
Calida served as justice undersecretary from March 2001 to January 2004. He also served as executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board from Jan. 21 to Oct. 31, 2004.
In 2011, Duterte endorsed Calida as a nominee for Ombudsman.
In Davao City, Peter Laviña, spokesperson for Duterte’s transition team, said he did not know when the presumptive President-elect picked Cusi and Calida.
He said there was no rift between him and Panelo. “I speak only for our team, the transition team,” he said.
Laviña said some nominations were directly submitted to Duterte or his longtime executive assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go, and some to the transition team, which were eventually forwarded to Duterte.
Asked about people who lobby for the appointment of some officials or facilitate applications for Duterte’s action, Laviña said: “That is part of democracy. That is how our system works. . . . Some are bringing issues, suggesting nominees, but this is part . . . of the process, which we need to understand.”
Laviña said the appointments were not official yet “until the mayor signs [them] after taking his oath of office on June 30.” With reports from Inquirer Research and Allan Nawal and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao
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