Transportation department well supported: Malacañang-A A +A
Saturday, June 4, 2011
MANILA -- Reports indicating that Transportation Secretary Jose "Ping" De Jesus left the President's Cabinet due to lack of support from Malacañang is completely false and unfair, a Palace aide said Saturday.
"That is not true. It is very clear that Secretary De Jesus wants to go back to the private sector so let's not put color into it and think of any other reason because he said it himself. He made it clear that he does not have a rift with the Aquino family and the President," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over government-run dzRB radio.
She said President Benigno Aquino III has always been supportive, especially because DOTC is one of the key agencies that are part in implementing the public-private partnership projects of the government.
"So it's not fair to say that the DOTC did not have the support of the President," she added.
It was reported that De Jesus apparently chose to resign from his post after a disagreement with the President on whether suspended Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Virginia Torres should be reinstated or relieved.
De Jesus sought Torres's suspension to allow the Department of Justice to conduct a deeper probe on the dispute between the LTO and its information technology systems provider, Stradcom Corporation.
Torres instead went on a 60-day leave of absence. The LTO chief will return to her office on June 19, the Palace itself confirmed.
Also vacating offices
Undersecretaries Dante Velasco, Glicerio Sicat, and Ruben Reinoso will also be vacating their posts on the same day their boss's resignation takes effect.
But Velasco said in a press conference Friday that they resigned "to give the next secretary a free hand in his team and pursue own strategies." He admitted that they were brought in to DOTC by De Jesus.
He also clarified that de Jesus did not resign due to policy disagreements with President Aquino.
"Let us put that speculation to rest, with the statement of Secretary Ping de Jesus that Asec Torres has nothing to do with his resignation," Velasco said.
For Valte, the resignation of de Jesus and the three DOTC undersecretaries is normal "because Cabinet secretaries were given legroom to form their team."
"Secretary De Jesus formed them, so it was natural for them to tender their resignation to give the new appointee a free hand (It's not surprise)," Valte said.
The Palace, meanwhile, denied speculations that Aquino's defeated vice presidential candidate, former Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, or Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director Joel Villanueva may be appointed as the next secretary of the DOTC.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said there has been no discussion about Roxas's possible appointment to the DOTC portfolio.
On the other hand, Tesda Director Villanueva said he is inclined to accept the DOTC portfolio should the position will be offered to him by President Aquino.
"I never received any offer yet and there were no talks about it. I just learned from media wanting to get my reaction. However, if the President wants me to be there (DOTC), who am I to say no?" he told Sun.Star in a phone interview. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)