COMMUNICATIONS chief Martin Andanar said on Sunday that Cabinet secretaries are not included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration firing all appointees in government by declaring their posts vacant.

“Ang sinabi po ng ating Presidente, hindi po kasama 'yung mga Cabinet secretaries dahil mga bago ang mga Cabinet secretaries na appointed (The Cabinet secretaries are not included, since they are all new),” Andanar said in a radio interview with Radyo ng Bayan.

Andanar said he will still clarify with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea if the constitutional bodies are covered by the President’s declaration.

“Hindi ko po tiyak kung kasama kasi meron mga constitutional bodies. Meron din mga offices na may term. Pero ang maliwanag po sinabi ng Pangulo na lahat ng appointive positions,” Andanar said.

Andanar also allayed fears that declaring over 1,000 appointive positions vacant will paralyze the operations of the government agencies.

“I think our bureaucracy is strong. It can stand even without the leaders. We have the deputies. We have career officers. There is no problem, the government can function,” he said.

“On Monday, I will declare all positions in the government -- because of the presidential appointments -- I will declare all your positions all throughout the country, vacant. You know why? I still hear corruption being committed by people especially in the regulatory agencies,” Duterte said in a press conference early Sunday at Presidential Guesthouse in Panacan.

[READ: Duterte declares all appointive gov't positions vacant]

Andanar also downplayed perception that the President does not accept criticisms about his policies.

“I don’t think so that the President detests the criticisms on the policy of the President. Ang ayaw lang ng Pangulo ay yun criticisms that obviously have preconceived notion na ayaw talaga ng tao nay un sa policy ng ating Pangulo,” Andanar said.

In a press conference early Sunday in Panacan, Davao, Duterte said he will declare on Monday that all positions in the government be vacated amid reports of continuing corruption in some other government offices, particularly the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. (PNA)