MANILA (2nd UPDATE)— President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed as his acting Cabinet Secretary an official of the PDP-Laban wing he backs, the party said on Wednesday.
Duterte named Melvin Matibag, secretary general of the faction, as his Cabinet Secretary, the group said in a statement.
Matibag replaces Karlo Nograles, who took oath as the new Civil Service Commission chairman this week.
Matibag took his oath before Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea earlier in the day, the PDP faction said.
In a statement, Matibag said he was "truly grateful" to the President for his "trust and confidence."
"I welcome the challenge and promise to abide by the duties entrusted to me by the President and the Constitution," the official said.
"We have about 3 months to oversee the Cabinet Secretariat and we will make sure of the important policy issues of President Duterte are acted upon and the Duterte legacy is properly established," he added.
MONTHS BEFORE DUTERTE'S 6-YEAR TERM EXPIRE
As Cabinet Secretary on the remaining days of the Duterte administration, Matibag will be tasked to assist in giving timely and organized information to the members of the Cabinet on several issues submitted for resolution, according to the Official Gazette.
Matibag will also have the function of representing Duterte in meetings, as well as present annual plans to ensure that the target of the administration will be achieved.
The official late last year was kicked out from a Senate budget hearing for the Department of Energy (DOE) after a heated exchange with Senator Manny Pacquiao, who was part of the panel.
Before that, Pacquiao was questioning Matibag for supposedly having links with "syndicates" running in the DOE, the head of which — Secretary Alfonso Cusi — is also his ally at PDP-Laban.
The PDP-Laban, the country's ruling party, is currently split in two: the faction of Cusi and that of Senators Manny Pacquiao and Koko Pimentel.
Pimentel, a long-time member of the party, said the "existing PDP-Laban leadership" does not recognize the national assembly made in July last year, which stripped them of party leadership.
The party faction backed by Duterte though, failed to field a standard-bearer after Senator Christopher "Bong" Go backed out of the presidential race.