- Published on Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00
- Written by WENDELL VIGILIA
By A Web design Company
THE race for the top post of the Department of Interior and Local Government is now down to Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Sen. Panfilo Lacson. And between the two, President Aquino is more inclined to give Roxas the post, sources said yesterday.
If Roxas is named successor of Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash some two weeks ago, his post might go to Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya who is also secretary general of the ruling Liberal Party, the sources also said.
One of the sources said Aquino is leaning toward Roxas because of the necessity of strengthening the LP hold on local government units in time for the local elections next year.
“Senator Lacson is being considered but local government concern is of utmost importance, more than police matters,” the source said.
Lacson is a former chief of the PNP, one of the agencies under the DILG.
The sources said key party players met Wednesday night “and they decided to push for that (Roxas as DILG secretary and Abaya as DOTC secretary).”
The sources said the party leaders, especially Roxas, wanted the post secured to ensure the LP’s control over local government units in time for next year’s elections.
“It’s not about the presidential ambition of Mar Roxas, it’s about the need to further strengthen the hold of the ruling LP in the local government arena in time for the 2013 elections,” one of the sources said.
Abaya, who is on his last term as congressman, earlier said he was willing to take the DILG if it is offered to him.
Another LP stalwart, Mindoro Oriental Gov. Alfonso Umali who is president of the League of Provinces, said House deputy speaker Lorenzo Tañada III and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. would also be good contenders for the DILG post.
The top DILG post is being held in concurrent capacity by Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr. who will sit as officer in charge until Aquino names a permanent replacement for Robredo.
Aquino, according to the Palace, might name the new DILG chief before he leaves for Russia on September 7 for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
Austere Panadero, DILG undersecretary for local government, said Ochoa has issued orders that all programs of governance started by Robredo must be pursued.
Among these are Robredo’s full disclosure program, good housekeeping, performance challenge fund, seal of disaster preparedness, and anti-red tape measures in local government units.
He said the department is also giving priority to the relocation of squatters along major waterways in Metro Manila and nearby environs. – With Raymond Africa