Philippine Interior Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno said that he is not offended by the rumors suggesting that he might soon be replaced as the head of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In a statement on Wednesday, February 15, Sueno said that it is within President Rodrigo Duterte’s “power, wisdom and discretion to appoint members of his Cabinet.”
“We serve at the pleasure of the president,” he said.
The interior secretary made the remarks amid rumors suggesting that Duterte was preparing to appoint former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the new chief of the DILG.
“With the information being floated about the change at the helm of the DILG, I take no offense whatsoever. It is business as usual for me as I dispense my duties and functions with the blessings of President Duterte,” Sueno added.
Sought for comments, Malacañang said that it does not have any knowledge on the matter.
“May narinig ka na ganyan (Did you hear something like that)? Ako wala (I don’t),” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a briefing on Tuesday, February 14.
Abella then added, “Frankly, I don’t have knowledge of that. As far as I’m concerned, I have not received anything.”
On the other hand, should Marcos get appointed as the new DILG chief, Albay Representative Edcal Lagman said that the former senator has to withdraw the poll protest he has filed against former Camarines Sur Representative and now Vice President Leni Robredo.
During the May 2016 vice presidential election, Robredo won the position with only around 263,000 votes more than Marcos. Marcos accused Robredo of committing a massive electoral fraud.
“He can accept but (if) he accepts, he is constrained to withdraw his petition. The court has several rulings on that. Tumanggap ka ng posisyon (You accepted a position) why are you still pursuing a case?” Lagman explained.
Last December, Duterte revealed that Marcos initially wanted to head the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“I do not want to make promises and I will not even say an assumption for the public until I have the wherewithals in my hands,” Duterte told CNN Philippines.
Marcos, however, cannot assume a new government position until mid-2017 as the law forbids appointing losing candidates for any Cabinet posts one year after the election.