MALACAÑANG on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to appoint a new head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) after Secretary Judy Taguiwalo's ad interim appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) last Wednesday.
"As of now, there's no replacement yet. No name has been revealed. We still don't know [who will be Taguiwalo's replacement]," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told Palace reporters.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday said Taguiwalo's replacement should be in the mold of the 10 women who had held the post since 1986, citing the agency has been traditionally run by women "with the head and the heart to lead a front-line agency."
After Taguiwalo's failed to get the nod of the CA members, Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson has conducted an online poll for the next DSWD Secretary.
Vice President Leni Robredo, Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Lorraine Badoy, and former Tarlac Representative Monica Teodoro-Prieto are included in the list of people who might replace Taguiwalo.
Uson's survey showed that Robredo is taking a wide lead against the Badoy and Prieto, garnering 81 percent of the votes.
Abella downplayed the online poll, saying the President has his own ways of picking the next DSWD chief.
"I'm sure the President has the other ways of measuring a candidate's capability, aside from surveys. It means that the President has a different set of categories," the presidential spokesperson said.
Asked if there is a possibility that Duterte will appoint Robredo as DWSD Secretary, Abella said it seemed to be a "difficult choice."
"Perhaps, there may be conditionalities that may not be too favorable regarding that. I don't know. It all depends on the President," Abella said. "I mean, I'm not saying no for Leni, I'm saying that it seems to be a difficult choice."
Robredo once served as housing czar under the Duterte administration but resigned last December after she was advised not to attend Cabinet meetings.
Meanwhile, Abella said it was possible that Taguiwalo may be appointed in another government office.
Abella said that during Taguiwalo's stint as Social Welfare chief, she enjoyed Duterte's "full trust and support," even when she sided with Leftist groups opposing the President's position.
"We wish Secretary Taguiwalo all the best in her future endeavors. She knows she will always have the President's gratitude and friendship for the time of a brief that they spent together in the service of our people," Abella said.
"I don't know if that’s possible [that Taguiwalo may be reappointed in other government offices]. I don’t know if that’s a precedent for that but I would not be surprised. I mean, I don’t think it’s entirely unthinkable," he added. (SunStar Philippines)