Palace holds off announcement of latest official to be axed

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 03 2018 10:04 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the ceremonial signing of 2 laws at the Malacañan Palace on December 19, 2017. Karl Norman Alonzo, Malacañang

MANILA - Malacañang has decided to hold off the announcement of the name of the government official who will be axed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Wednesday.

Roque had earlier promised he will announce today the name of the government official who will be put on the President’s chopping block over alleged irregularities.

“I was told to hold it at ako naman po bilang abogado, I do not mind holding the information until there is something in writing ‘no. Actually I pray for… siguro magkaroon muna ng kasulatan na paratingin muna sa tao bago i-anunsyo,” Roque said in a radio interview.

He did not clarify whether the instruction came from Duterte himself.

Prior to the now-cancelled announcement, fresh complaints of irregularities had been raised against some officials in the administration, including Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Marcial Amaro III over his alleged junkets and those from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office over the state charity arm’s supposedly lavish Christmas party.

Among prominent officials who were previously axed were Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, Dangerous Drugs Board chief Dionisio Santiago, and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor Terry Ridon. Even the cousin of Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña, PCUP Commissioner Melissa Avanceña Aradanas, was not spared.

But while some lauded Duterte’s move, his critics accused him of having a double standard when he still trusted former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon even while he was tagged in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu in the Philippines. Faeldon was recently appointed by the President to the Office of Civil Defense.