MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino admitted on Tuesday that he appointed Jesse Robredo only as acting secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as reported earlier by VERA Files and ABS-CBN News. (Click here for related story.)
Aquino said he had differences with Robredo during the election campaign, which is why he appointed Robredo in an acting capacity. Robredo's name has not been submitted to the Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation.
He told Malacañang reporters he first wants to make sure that he can get along with Robredo, which is why he is in an "evaluation period" as chief of the interior and local government.
“There are various reasons kung bakit acting. In the case of Jesse, we had some differences during the campaign as to style. We want to make sure we can really work with each other well. It does no good to get him through the whole process of the CA only at the end of the day to find out that there might be difficulties in our working style, among others, our core philosophy, so we did agree na acting na muna,” Aquino said.
“May evaluation period, siguro check ang working style, after two months sigurado na tayo, we still have certain things discussed,” he added. “Dadalawang buwan pa lang kami nagkakasubukan kung talaga nga bang kaya naming mag-mesh.”
With respect to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, a career official, Aquino said she was also appointed in an acting capacity since she initially had second thoughts about the accepting the post. The President said he may have to talk to her about staying on as appointed secretary.
“Si Secretary Baldoz was very hesitant to take the position. She would have preferred one of the agencies attached. I prevailed upon her and she has been performing so well so baka mawala yung agreement namin na ang papalit sa kanya e baka hindi na natin pilitin na sumama sa gobyerno," Aquino said. "Baka kausapin ko si Sec. Baldoz na tuloy tuloy na niya.”
In the case of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, Aquino said he named him acting secretary since there were 2 others he wanted as head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
He said Paje is aware that he is just the acting secretary while he evaluates his performance for a year.
“We had two other people in mind who were not available in the DENR post so Sec. Paje is aware that one year is a significant amount of time, depending on performance, we might reevaluate the need to get somebody else,” he said.
Paje is widely believed to be a seat warmer for defeated Liberal Party senatorial candidate Nereus Acosta, who has to sit out a one-year ban on appointment to a government post for candidates who lost.
According to a list obtained by ABS-CBN News from the CA on Monday, Malacañang is asking the 25-member bicameral body to confirm the ad interim appointments of 18 heads of line departments as required by the Constitution.
Missing from the list are Robredo, Paje, and Baldoz.
'No one is absolved'
Meanwhile, Aquino said that while he has taken responsibility for the hostage crisis, this does not mean his alter egos and other public officials will not be made to account for possible infractions.
“Walang absolved. Tinatapos natin ang imbestigasyon, parang proseso na rin yun para malaman kung ano ang ginawa ng isang tao sa insidenteng yan. Ano ba ang dapat ginampanan nya, ano ang ginawa niya. Tapos pagkatapos nun, ang nagkulang, dapat merong kaukulang mapapataw na penalty,” Aquino said.
He said he assumed responsiblity for the incident since it is the president who appoints policemen.
“Yung sino ang nagtalaga dun sa pulis dun, maski papano, marami nag-rerekomenda sa chain of command, and dulo nun, ako pa rin siguro ang tatalaga kung san. In the case of chief of police, syempre the LGU also has a bearing. Ang punto nito, ang gusto ko lang i-emphasize, meron talagang dapat umako ng resdponsibilidad at meron dapat maging responsible sa pagsasaayos ng lahat ng kakulangan na nangyari,” Aquino said. -- ABS-CBN News; Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News