MANILA (Updated 1:35 p.m.) -- Secretary Manuel Roxas II will soon be leaving the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) after President Benigno Aquino III named him on Friday afternoon as the successor to the late Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Aquino's announcement was aired through state-run PTV-4.
He said he is expecting Roxas to continue Robredo's initiative on transparency and empowerment of local government units, beef up security on jails and improve the country's internal security.
Roxas is one of Aquino's senior advisers and running-mate in the 2010 presidential elections. He also served as trade and industry secretary to former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Roxas, who is on his first year as DOTC chief, reportedly pushed for Cavite Representative Joseph Abaya to be the next DILG Secretary. Abaya is the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Party, which is eyeing to solidify its grassroots support come the 2013 midterm elections.
Abaya instead was appointed as Roxas's replacement in the DOTC as Aquino asked the Commission on Appointments to confirm the new assignments of the two officials.
Political observers say Aquino's decision to place a party-mate in the coveted department is also a strategy for the former senator to forge ties with local chief executives whom the LP can tap to deliver the votes in case Roxas will run for President in 2016.
Vice President Jejomar Binay earlier jockeyed for the position when he became the country's number two leader in 2010 but he declined to be considered this time, saying he wanted to focus on his work as housing and anti-human trafficking czar.
Once floated as Robredo's replacement as well is Senator Panfilo Lacson, one of Aquino's allies in the Senate.
Robredo's ashes are interred in his home city of Naga days after he died, along with two pilots, in a plane crash off Masbate on August 18. His aide Police Senior Inspector Jun Abrasado survived the accident. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)