House tax body chief Salceda downplays rumors he'll replace Finance chief Diokno

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2022 03:32 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2022 04:39 PM

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MANILA - The head of the House of Representatives' tax-writing body on Monday played down speculations he is being groomed to be the next Secretary of the Department of Finance. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chair and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda dismissed as mere speculation the rumors that he will soon be replacing Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

This was after local business news website Bilyonaryo.com on Monday ran an article saying President Ferdinand Marcos Jr was mulling a replacement for Diokno.

"Sec. Ben (Diokno) is a good friend and as long as he’s SOF, I will work closely with him. The President ultimately makes the decisions on appointments. The Cabinet, after all, is his official family," Salceda said.

"He (President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) has an SOF already. Until he says otherwise, any talk of any appointment is pointless speculation," he added.

Salceda also maintained he is not after the job.

"Do not covet thy neighbor’s job. In past administrations, as in the present, I was able to move fiscal policy from my seat in Congress," Salceda said, citing his work in economic policy as a congressman.

"From the fiscal reforms of 2003-2006, to the economic reforms during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, to the Duterte-era CTRP [Comprehensive Tax Reform Program], up to the present, I have worked with the Secretary of Finance, not as the Secretary of Finance," he stressed.

Diokno also downplayed the issue by saying that he is focused on his job.

"I don’t comment on idle talks. I work unceasingly for whatever job I’m assigned to do," Diokno said.

Last week, Marcos appointed Romeo Lumagui Jr. as the new commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, replacing Lilia Catris Guillermo, who held the post since June this year. 

Malacanang did not give a reason for Guillermo's replacement.

-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

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