Cabinet shaping up

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

The Cabinet of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has taken shape. The list, so far, includes:

Carlos Dominguez – secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF)

Vitaliano Aquirre – secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ)

Emmanuel Piñol – secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA)

Mark Villar – secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)

Salvador Medialdea – executive secretary

Art Tugade – secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)

Jesus Dureza – presidential peace adviser of the Office of the Peace Process

Perfecto Yasay – acting-secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

Salvador Panelo – presidential spokesman

Peter Laurel – secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd)

Alfonso Cusi – secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE)

Silvestre Bello III – peace negotiator

Andrea Domingo – chairman of the Philippine Gaming Corporation (Pagcor)

Jose Calida – solicitor general

The Defense portfolio has been offered to Gilberto Teodoro.

Still to be filled are secretaries of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Health (DOH), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Cabinet secretary. Four of these department posts will be offered to communist leaders as Duterte conceded to them. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile advised the incoming President to think twice before striking a deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). However, it’s the President’s sole prerogative who to appoint as Cabinet secretaries. But under the principle of check and balance, they will have to pass the scrutiny of the Commission on Appointments (CA), as required by law.

Still to be announced are the heads of government financial institutions, such as Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Landbank of the Philippines and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Meanwhile, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Villar would be violating Article 234 of the Revised Penal Code once he did his duties as DPWH secretary and refused to discharge his duties as reelected Las Piñas representative. Also, some people perceive that there is an outright conflict of interest in his appointment, coming from a family with subdivision projects.

As for Panelo, the lawyer of the Ampatuans, the relatives of the Maguindanao massacre urged President Duterte to reconsider his appointment, expressing disappointment over his selection as Duterte’s spokesman. Also urging Duterte was executive director of the Center for International Law, Atty. Romel Bagares, saying his choice was uninspired.

Five new faces

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), proclaimed 12 winning Senators, Thursday afternoon, with Senate President Frank Drilon topping the list with more than 18 million votes.

Five new faces made the list of winners. They are Joel Villanueva, Manny Pacquiao, Risa Hontiveros, Sherwin Gatchalian and Leila de Lima.

Reelected were Tito Sotto and Ralph Recto. Returning to the Senate are Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Miguel Zubiri and Francis Pangilinan.

Former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chief Francis Tolentino, who placed 13th, questioned the proclamation before the Supreme Court (SC).

Also, the Comelec proclaimed a total of 46 party-lists.

Crime still high

The election of tough-talking President Rodrigo Duterte has not deterred criminals from committing crimes.

In Cagayan de Oro, Judge Emmanuel Pasal of RTC Branch 38 was ambushed but survived unscathed.

In Navotas, Roselle Joy Torres was shot in the head inside the Navotas Fish Port.

In Cotabato City, the house of MB Kalnganan Chairman Akmad Manedzin Ayunan was riddled with bullets.

In Zamboanga City, a three-year old girl was raped in front of his paralyzed mother by his stepfather, while her five-month old sibling died of hunger and malnutrition.

Akyat Bahay Gangs are active in Quezon City, San Juan and Mandaluyong.

A young girl was found dead in a quarry in Pampanga.

Higher GDP growth

The Philippines recorded a 6.9 percent gross domestic product (GDP) rate in the first quarter of 2016, the highest in Asia.

It outpaced China, who recorded 6.7 percent; Vietnam, 5.5 percent; Indonesia 4.9 percent; Malaysia, 4.2 percent; and Thailand, 3.2 percent.

The 6.9 percent growth rate was caused by election spending and higher government budget releases.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Emmanuel Esguerra said the agriculture and fishery sectors will continue to suffer from El Niño.

Esguerra called for added state spending to diversify crops.

The Duterte administration has included intensified agricultural development in its eight-point economic program.


Newly elected Senator Leila de Lima said she will be in the opposition to President Duterte. She announced she is against the restoration of the death penalty and the shoot-to-kill policy against criminals. Meanwhile, newly proclaimed Manny Pacquiao said he is in favor of the death penalty, saying capital punishment is actually based on the Bible.

Hermilando Mandanas has won another term as Governor of Batangas, defeating Dong Mendoza and Vice-Governor Mark Leviste. He ran as an independent.

New Education Secretary Peter Laurel expressed support for the K-12 program.

Death toll from stomach flu in Zamboanga is at 14. The number of acute gastroenteritis patients reached 2,073, most of them were children aged five and below, since March 28 to May 10.


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