MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is seriously assessing whom to name secretary of the interior and local government to replace the late Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash, Malacañang said yesterday.
Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Liberal Party (LP) president, denied that Aquino has offered him the job.
Speculations are rife that Sen. Panfilo Lacson is being considered for the post.
However, the pro-administration LP wants either Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya or former Isabela governor Grace Padaca for the job. Both are LP members.
Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office said he could not say when Aquino would name Robredo’s replacement.
“We haven’t discussed it yet,” he said. “I’m sure you can understand that. We will wait until the funeral (today) before we have a serious discussion about who will replace Jesse Robredo.”
“But knowing the President... I’m sure he’s thinking who can possibly replace Jesse.”
Speaking on ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda,” Roxas asked people not to believe speculations. “There’s nothing like that,” he said, referring to the supposed offer.
Roxas said it was premature to talk about the matter when Robredo had not even been buried yet.
Roxas said talks must stop in deference to the memory of Robredo and his legacy.
Aquino had appointed Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. as officer-in-charge to ensure that the affairs in the DILG would run smoothly, Roxas and Carandang said.
Meanwhile, former President Joseph Estrada backed yesterday a proposal to name Lacson secretary of the interior and local government.
In an interview with The STAR, Estrada said Lacson would be the best man to replace Robredo.
“You know the problem of the country is peace and order,” he said. “There are so many crimes taking place and sadly, some involved even policemen.” – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Christina Mendez