Palace: Not yet time to remove Tugade
Malacañang rejected on Monday calls for President Rodrigo Duterte to sack Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade over his failure to address the almost daily malfunctions and breakdowns plaguing the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3).
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Tugade continues to enjoy the President’s trust and confidence.
He added that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) was also planning to file criminal cases against officials of the previous administration who were in charge of the MRT 3.
“We inherited the problem and we are observing the steps Secretary Tugade has taken. I think it is not yet time to remove Secretary Tugade. He enjoys the full trust and confidence of the President,” Roque said in a press briefing.
“The President has said he will back up Secretary Tugade in whatever he may need to effect immediate reform of the MRT,” he added.
Opposition lawmakers Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao earlier urged the President to fire Tugade for failing to resolve the MRT mess.
Alejano criticized the DOTr over the growing list of “MRT blunders,” the latest of which involved a train car getting detached from the main train on Thursday, forcing passengers to walk on the tracks toward the nearest station.
“The responsibility of finding solutions to the problem falls squarely on the DOTr and its leadership. It has been over a year since the Duterte administration took over,” Alejano said.
Sought for comment, Tugade said he would step down should the President ask him to.
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