Piñol drew flak for his handling of the 22 fishermen who figured in the Recto Bank incident and the rice supply lack that affected the prices of the staple.
Geremy Pintolo/File
Piñol offers to quit as Agri chief, open to reappointment to MinDA
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2019 - 8:31pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:43 p.m.) — Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has offered to resign, amid reports that President Rodrigo Duterte is no longer happy with his performance, senator-elect Christopher Go said Thursday.

Go, a former presidential aide who still accompanies Duterte to official events, said Piñol submitted his courtesy resignation Thursday afternoon.

"With the best interest of the Department of Agriculture and its stakeholders, may I request that I be relieved from my present position as secretary of agriculture and reassigned to whichever agency you believe I will be effective, including the Mindanao Development Authority or MinDA," Piñol's said in his letter as read to the media by Go.

Go said Piñol felt he was no longer helpful in his position.

"Sa tingin niya po eh ah medyo hindi na siya makaaktulong sa position... alam niyo po napaka-sensitive po ni Pangulong Duterte sa position na ito especially nakataya po ang legacy ng kanyang admin in the next three years po at importante sa kanya itong agriculture," Go said.

(He thinks he is not that helpful anymore. President Duterte is sensitive to this position. The legacy of his administration in the next three years is at stake so agriculture is important to him.)

Duterte: He's not corrupt, just talkative

Duterte clarified he still trusts Piñol and is happy with the performance of the Agriculture chief. 

He also claimed that Piñol is not involved in corruption

"He (Piñol) is not corrupt. He is just talkative," the president said in a chance interview on Thursday.

Duterte said he still has to talk to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao interim chief minister Al-Hajj Ahod Ebrahim before accepting Piñol's resignation. He expressed confidence that Piñol would be able to help him attend to the needs of the Moros. 

"I cannot see anybody in the horizon except Piñol who knows and grew up, born in Mindanao, he's a farmer and governor, so I need someone to orchestrate and that MinDA position is a Cabinet position," the president said. 

"I said 'Just go there and help me, get them started, hurry up, hurry them up, so that they will have a first regular organized government that they have long wished for'," he added. 

Duterte said he is still looking for a new agriculture chief. 

Go believes Duterte still trusts Piñol

"May tiwala naman siguro. siguro naman kung itatalaga niya sa MinDa si Piñol, nandyan pa tiwala niya," he said.

(The president probably still trusts him. If the president appoints Piñol to MinDA, then the trust is still there.)

Piñol drew flak for his handling of the 22 fishermen who figured in the Recto Bank incident and the rice supply lack that affected the prices of the staple.

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