MANILA - There is no truth that Defense Secretary Voltaira Gazmin will be replaced because of conflicting information on the concrete blocks in Panatag Shoal.
Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Gazmin “continues to enjoy the President's full trust and confidence.”
Gazmin was criticized after claiming that the concrete blocks in Panatag Shoal could be a prelude to more construction projects there by China.
President Benigno Aquino III would later reveal that there won’t be any protest since the structures are “very, very old” and “won’t pose any threat to navigation.”
The Vera Files reported: “The concrete blocks in Bajo de Masinloc, which Philippine defense and military officials last month accused China of putting there, may have actually been placed by the United States Navy decades ago, military sources said.”
“A military investigation found that the concrete slabs were covered by algae, an indication that they had been in the area for many years. The probe also found that the blocks had been used by the U.S. Navy as 'sinkers' to preserve the wreckage of old ships they used for target practice,” Vera Files’ Ellen Tordesillas said.
Meanwhile, Coloma was mum on presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s reported transfer to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
"I have no information on other possible Cabinet movements or appointments,” Coloma said.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, however, said it is "not true" that Lacierda is being moved to NEDA.
The Philippine Star reported last week that Aquino wants Coloma as his lead spokesman.
The report said Aquino already told Secretaries Edwin Lacierda, Ricky Carandang and Undersecretary Abigail Valte during a meeting last week that Coloma would be taking over.
Coloma has since been handling press conferences.