By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

FORMER SENATOR Gregorio B. Honasan II will now take the top post at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), almost seven months after his appointment as secretary in November, Malacañang confirmed late Monday.

Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, in a text message to BusinessWorld, said Mr. Honasan “took his oath as DICT secretary earlier” and that he was already joining the cabinet meeting scheduled last night.

The confirmation comes after Senator Panfilo M. Lacson announced in a tweet Monday afternoon the new role of Mr. Honasan, where he congratulated the recently retired senator.

“My heartfelt congratulations to my classmate, colleague and friend, DICT Secretary Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan who is about to take his oath of office anytime now, before the scheduled cabinet meeting in Malacañang today,” Mr. Lacson wrote.

However, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said he was not notified by anyone of the upcoming leadership change in the department until Mr. Lacson made it public.

“Well, I was not informed. Nagulat din ako (I was also surprised). But yes, that’s expected. I think he will take his oath in front of the President this evening,” he said in a phone call with BusinessWorld yesterday afternoon.

“I don’t know kung may (if I have an) appointment as undersecretary. I’m still going to find that out tomorrow,” he added.

Malacañang issued on Nov. 22 the appointment papers for Mr. Honasan as the new DICT secretary.

Prior to that, Mr. Honasan said on Nov. 9 that he “decided to accept the offer of the President to help lead the DICT.”

Mr. Honasan was not able to assume the post immediately as he failed to submit documentary requirements to the Commission on Appointments before Congress took its Christmas break on Dec. 15.

Mr. Rio took on the role as acting secretary of the DICT when Rodolfo A. Salalima resigned from the position in September 2017.