Who are the Red nominees to Duterte's Cabinet?

Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Who are the Red nominees to Duterte's Cabinet? 1
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte helped facilitate the release of police officers and soldiers taken captive by communist rebels in Mindanao. File photo

MANILA - The individuals included in the National Democratic Front of the Philippines' (NDFP) list of nominees for Cabinet posts in the administration of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte are not necessarily members of the revolutionary movement, a senior communist guerrilla leader said Friday.

In an interview on ANC, Fidel Agcaoili, spokesperson of the NDFP negotiating panel, said the names on their shortlist were chosen based on their integrity and competency.

"We already said that iyung mga leaders ng revolutionary movement will not be accepting any position until the final peace agreements are signed. But we are willing to submit the nominees, the people who are of proven integrity, pro-people, pro-poor, and may competency sa kanilang departments that they will be nominated in," Agcaoili said.

"We did not say that these individuals would necessarily be members of the revolutionary movement," he added.

Among the names that have surfaced to be included in the NDFP's shortlist are former University of the Philippines Professor Judy Taguiwalo, former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, and former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño.

According to Agcaoili, Taguiwalo, who used to teach at the UP College of Social Work and Community Development, is being eyed for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) portfolio and Mariano for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) post.

Duterte earlier said he would be willing to concede four departments to the communist group if they would join his government: DSWD, DAR, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Speaking to radio dzMM on Monday morning, Casiño confirmed news of his inclusion in the NDFP's shortlist. 

Agcaoili, however, refused to confirm the former Bayan Muna party-list representative's nomination, saying he will leave it to Duterte to announce his preferred Cabinet appointees.

"Di ba prerogative ni president-elect to choose kung sino ang kanyang ia-appoint, so we just provided names. Siya na bahala. Now, we mentioned we had to confirm yung kay Judy Taguiwalo at saka Rafael Mariano since the news came out. With respect to Teddy Casiño, it's still... si president-elect ang may decision diyan," he explained.

Agcaoili nonetheless assured that all of their nominees are willing to serve in the Cabinet of Duterte.

"I think so. I think they submitted their curriculum vitae atsaka letters of intent eh, so that means they have made their decision to, oo," he said.

Asked if any of the names included in their shortlist are members of the NDFP, he said: "I don't think so."

"Perhaps they would say that...there are similarities in vision, but organizationally eh baka wala," he added.


Meanwhile, Agcaoili, who has already spoken with the incoming president twice, stressed that they have not set any pre-conditions before they return to the table for peace negotiations with the government.

He noted that the release of political prisoners, which Duterte has promised, is covered by an existing peace agreement.

"Hindi naman pre-condition yung release of political prisoners. Ano yan eh, covered by agreement. Compliance ang issue diyan," he said. "And besides, the president-elect himself has already said na he's willing to release all political prisoners. He even said that he will issue a general amnesty."

Asked if they feel Duterte was sincere when he said that, he answered: "Yes, of course, we have to take his word for it."

According to Agcaoili, the peace talks should be held in a neutral venue abroad, in accordance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

Communist leaders who are in exile in the Netherlands might return home after agreements have been made, he said.

"Si Professor Jose Maria Sison, who is the chief political consultant ng NDFP, ay meron siyang ano eh, asylum sa Netherlands. And so it will not be in keeping with international law that he can return to the country," he said.