Changes loom in Duterte cabinet

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2018 01:20 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2018 03:15 PM

MANILA - Changes will soon come to the cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte as the chief executive is apparently “not happy” with the performance of some of his alter egos, Malacañang said Friday.

“Sabi niya na mayroong mga secretary na hindi siya happy sa performance at magkakaroon nga daw po ng mga pagbabago sa gabinete,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview on GMA7's Unang Hirit.

Roque, however, did not reveal who these officials are.

Roque bared this as he was asked whether Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II continues to enjoy the trust of the President in the wake of his department’s dismissal of charges against drug suspects Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim.

The spokesperson had said during Thursday’s press briefing that Duterte continues to trust Aguirre. In the television interview, however, Roque did not directly answer the question and said that Duterte would not hesitate to fire a cabinet member who has lost his trust and confidence.

“Kung wala na po kasing tiwala iyan ay hindi na po hihintayin ni Pangulo ang pagbibitiw, talagang sisibakin na po. Dahil alam mo naman na napakadami nang sinibak ng ating Pangulo,” he said.

The President had already fired two of his Cabinet secretaries, namely Ismael Sueno of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Rodolfo Salalima of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

The President accused Sueno of corruption over the purchase of fire trucks from Austria, while Salalima was told to leave for allegedly favoring a telecommunications company amid the government’s effort to break the telecommunications duopoly.

Also asked to resign was cabinet-ranked Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan, who faced but denied allegations of excessive travel.