Duterte appoints 3 more Cabinet officials | Inquirer News

Duterte appoints 3 more Cabinet officials

DU30_ESPERON/MAY 22, 2016 President elect Rodrigo Durterte with General Hermogenes Esperon. EDWIN BACASMAS

Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Durterte with General Hermogenes Esperon. INQUIRER PHOTO/EDWIN BACASMAS

A former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), a former rebel priest and a University of the Philippines economics professor are joining the Cabinet of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

At a press conference on Saturday evening, Duterte announced in Davao City that retired Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the AFP chief of staff of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, would be his national security adviser.


“It’s a very challenging job, but I’m honored to become part of his Cabinet,” Esperon said on Sunday. “He wants to change many things so we are focusing our concerns on national security.”


Duterte announced at dawn on Sunday that he would appoint as Cabinet secretary his campaign manager, Leoncio “Jun” Evasco.

“I might as well take this opportunity to announce that Jun Evasco is Secretary to the Cabinet,” Duterte told reporters. “I want him to work with me.”

Evasco, a priest who joined the underground movement during martial law and a former political prisoner, was city administrator during Duterte’s term as mayor of Davao City. Evasco later became mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol.

READ:  Duterte names more members of his Cabinet

Mass movement-type

When Duterte decided to run for President, he tapped Evasco as his national campaign manager. Evasco is being credited for implementing a “mass movement-type” of campaign organizing supporters down to the barangay level.


Pernia to Neda

Also on Sunday, Ernesto M. Pernia of the UP School of Economics said he had “unofficially” accepted Duterte’s offer for him to head the state planning agency, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Pernia said the Duterte administration would prioritize poverty reduction, alongside regional and rural development as well as quality education and healthcare.

He said a “much-improved” investment climate, as a result of implementing law and order, improving infrastructure, cutting red tape, easing constitutional restrictions on foreign direct investment and putting in place a competitive tax system, would  bring in more investments that would create more jobs and reduce poverty.

Pernia said that in terms of regional and rural development, the Duterte administration would focus on the agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors.

RH law implementation

The incoming administration will also push for “rapid and sustained” implementation of the reproductive health or RH law, he added.

Pernia is professor emeritus at the School of Economics in UP Diliman since 2013. He finished his Ph.D. in Economic Demography at University of California, Berkeley in 1976.

Before being named incoming national security adviser, Esperon was considered for the post of defense secretary, along with Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr., a defense secretary during the Arroyo administration and its presidential candidate in 2010.

At the press conference on Saturday, Duterte said Teodoro had declined to be his defense secretary. “Gibo has begged off. I have in mind a retired military man. I won’t divulge his name yet.”

But Teodoro on Sunday denied that he had declined Duterte’s offer.

“The importance of the position to the national interest requires no less than serious consultation, especially with the President-elect before accepting such, in order to ensure that a prospective Secretary is the right choice,” Teodoro said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

The Inquirer learned that Duterte and Teodoro had a brief meeting on May 16 in Davao City, and had not really discussed what the former expected from a defense secretary.

READ:  Teodoro still studying Duterte offer of top defense post

DILG chief

Duterte said he still had to choose his secretary of interior and local government. “I am having a hard time. There’s a problem in the police. Not all, but in the Manila area and some provinces, some police are into drugs,” he said.

Esperon worked with Duterte during the election campaign and was visible even in his media engagements.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Marangal” Class of 1974, Esperon served as AFP chief of staff from July 2006 to May 2008.

 ‘Hello Garci’

Esperon was implicated in the 2004 presidential election fraud dubbed “Hello Garci,” which involved wiretapped phone conversations purportedly between then President Arroyo and then Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano about increasing Arroyo’s lead in the vote count.

Esperon was mentioned in the tapped conversations as allegedly taking an active role in the manipulation of election results in Mindanao.

Upon his retirement from the military, he served as Arroyo’s presidential adviser on the peace process. With reports from Nikko Dizon and Inquirer Research

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