By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has appointed retired military chief Eduardo Año as the new officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Año’s appointment came after the President designated DILG OIC and Undersecretary Catalino Cuy as chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
The appointment papers, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last January 4, were released by Malacañang yesterday.
“Upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and to ensure continuous and effective delivery of public service, please be informed that you are hereby designated as Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government effectively immediately,” read Medialdea’s memorandum to Año.
Año, a former Armed Forces chief of staff and martial law implementer in Mindanao, currently serves undersecretary of the DILG.
The President had long wanted to appoint Ano as the next DILG secretary, but deferred the plan since no retired military or police official can be appointed as secretary within one year from retirement.
Cuy, on the other hand, takes the place of former DDB chairman Dionisio Santiago who was sacked by Duterte over alleged junkets abroad and acceptance of favors from drug lords.
Santiago also got the boot for criticizing drug rehabilitation center donated by a Chinese tycoon.
Cuy has also been named permanent member of the DDB with a term expiring July 2, 2018.
Cuy, a retired police general, earlier took the helm of the DILG temporarily after the dismissal of Ismael Sueno over corruption allegations.
More to be axed
Meanwhile, the sacking of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) administrator Marcial Amaro III is not likely to be the last government official to get the boot over excesses in public service.
Some government officials, including police officers, could be fired over allegations of frequent travels and other anomalies once an inquiry is complete, according to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
Roque admitted that the Palace is looking into these complaints against some officials as part of due process, assuring the President will spare no one in the campaign against corruption.
“Naku madami pa (There’s still a lot),” Roque said in a radio interview last Thursday, when asked if more officials are next on the chopping block following the dismissal of Amaro over excessive foreign travels.
“Ngayon po alam ko mayroon pang dalawang pending na reklamo diyan at pinatitingnan po talaga iyan sa Presidential Management Staff (At present, I know there are two pending complaints being looked into by the Presidential Management Staff),” he added.
Roque, in another radio interview, said the list of the suspected erring officials may be released before the end of the month.
Roque affirmed that these complaints involved a mix of allegations of excessive travels and other corrupt practices, which he claimed the President considers betrayal of public trust if proven true.
The President recently fired Amaro after a Department of Transportation (DOTr) report showed he made a total of 24 foreign trips in the last two years. A complaint from MARINA employees was also received by the President about the same concern.
Roque said the President does not ignore the complaints sent by citizens to the Palace about the performance or conduct of government officials.