Duterte plans ‘mini’ Cabinet revamp affecting five secretaries

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It is not clear if the possible transfer of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol to the Mindanao Development Authority will kick-start a “mini” Cabinet revamp which President Rodrigo R. Duterte said will displace five Cabinet members. — WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/SECMANNYPINOL

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday evening announced an impending “mini revamp” in his Cabinet that will see three department secretaries removed, but his spokesman sought to downplay the statement the following day.

Gusto ko ng medyo — hindi naman major — mini revamp, mini lang, mini revamp (I am looking at a mini revamp, not a major one),” Mr. Duterte told reporters on the sidelines of the oath-taking of Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence T. Go on Thursday evening.

“Ang mga position? Magpili pa ako kung sinong patayin ko sa kanila (Which positions will be affected? I will pick who among them will die),” he added.

Sa Cabinet members lima; limang positions na gusto kong mabakante… (Five among Cabinet members, five positions I want to open up).”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo, however, clarified that the President later withdrew his statement, saying in a televised interview. “Iyon ang huling sinabi niya. Pero nung paalis na siya, sinabi niya, wala (That is what he said. But when he was about to leave, he said there will be no revamp).”

Binawi niya. Di antayin na lang natin. Absolute discretion niya naman ‘yun eh (He took back his announcement. Let us just wait for the official announcement since Cabinet movements are subject to his absolute discretion).”

Mr. Duterte, on Thursday evening also confirmed the offer of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol to resign, and said he was considering transfering him to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to lead coordination of the national government and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

But the President said he has yet to accept Mr. Piñol’s offer to resign.

“I cannot see anybody in the horizon except Piñol… was born in Mindanao and grew up there. He is a farmer, then a governor,” the President said in a media interview at the Malacañan Palace.

Saying that the Mindanao [Development] Authority position is a Cabinet position,” Mr. Duterte said: “Sabi ko, ‘pumunta ka na lang doon, tulungan mo na lang ako’. (I told him to transfer there and help me). Get them started… hurry up, hurry them up so that they would have the first regular organized government that they have long wished for.”

Mr. Piñol, for his part, said he will continue work on advocacies in the Department of Agriculture, pending finality of his MinDA reassignment.

“I am a soldier of the President and I believe that a warrior does not choose the battlefields nor the battle. It is not the size of the battlefield or the odds that matters but it is how you fight to win the battle,” Mr. Piñol said in a social media post, Friday.

“Until such time, the President decides on where to field me to wage another battle, I will continue my advocacies and work in the Department of Agriculture.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan