Duterte urged to consult more with Cabinet


Posted at Oct 19 2016 04:56 PM

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds his first Cabinet meeting being held at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace. Malacanang News and Information Bureau

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should have more consultations with his Cabinet, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told lawmakers that the president has been issuing statements without discussing matters with his Cabinet members.

"Maybe he feels he does not need to consult the Cabinet, and that is his prerogative, but maybe I would suggest that more consultations be done," said Drilon in an interview after a Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing on Lorenzana's confirmation.

The defense chief had difficulty answer some of the questions on the new administration's national security policies because, Lorenzana added, he does not get to talk with Duterte often.

Drilon reiterated that the relationship with the US should be maintained as the Philippines establishes closer ties with China.

"There is no question, and I support that proposition, that we should have an independent foreign policy. But, to my mind, we can pursue that without terminating our relationship with our ally (US), he said.

The lack of dialogue between Duterte and some of his Cabinet members has led to confusion and the delayed submission of the Department of National Defense's (DND) recommendation on how to proceed with the country's ties with the United States.

"Apparently, he (Lorenzana) is not yet prepared, because he is to submit his recommendation to the President and to the Cabinet come November. That is why he even asked for postponement of his meeting with his US counterparts," Drilon said.

Duterte's Cabinet has been criticized for conflicting interpretations of the President's pronouncements on different issues, including severing ties with the country's treaty ally, the US.

In a bid to iron out miscommunication among Cabinet officials, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea earlier released an executive order that barred other members of the Cabinet from speaking on behalf of President Duterte. -- report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News