MANILA - The appointment of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to the Mindanao Development Authority is up to the President, Bangsamoro region's interim minister said Thursday, but added that the agricultural chief is "very unpopular among the Bangsamoro people."
Duterte earlier said he would consult Murad first before appointing Piñol.
Bangsamoro interim chief minister Murad Ebrahim said he has discussed the matter with President Rodrigo Duterte and Piñol and said the decision is up to the chief executive.
"This is prerogative of the President, it’s an extension of his supervisory function. As far as Manny Piñol is concerned, he’s very unpopular among the Bangsamoro people because of his opposition to the Bangsamoro struggle," Murad told ANC's Early Edition.
"It is up to the President. Wala naman tayong komento (We have no comment)."
Piñol will be the President's "point person" in Bangsamoro, according to Murad, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
"Sabi niya I will just appoint Secretary Piñol para maging point person ko sa inyo. Hindi siya makikiaalam sa anumang activities ninyo. Wala nang detail, 'yun lang sinabi ng presidente," he said.
Murad said Piñol remains unpopular to residents in Bangsamoro due to his history of filing a petition seeking to nullify the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the MILF.
"Sa mga ibang tao, hindi pa rin fine pero maybe later on kung ipakita niya na talagang supportive na siya sa Bangsamoro, maybe magpapalit din 'yung image niya sa mga Bangsamoro people," Murad said.
(For other people he's still not fine but maybe later on if he shows he's really supportive to the Bangsamoro, maybe his image will change to the Bangsamoro people.)
The interim chief said he met with Duterte earlier this week to update him on the progress of the new region.
"We told him that all the ministries are already organized, they are fully-functioning," he said.