Aquino confirms Mar Roxas is new DOTC secretary
He will replace Jose de Jesus, whose sudden resignation will take effect on June 30. De Jesus was reportedly frustrated by the slow action on issues bedevilling his department.
In a press briefing in Malacañang shortly before 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Aquino said Roxas accepted his offer on Monday.
The President said Roxas will also become a senior member of his Cabinet's economic cluster.
Roxas had long entertained his own presidential ambitions, but gave way to his Liberal Party colleague Noynoy Aquino after the death of his mother Cory Aquino in 2009. Roxas then became Aquino's running mate in the May 10, 2010 automated elections.
Aquino has long been saying that a post in his administration awaits Roxas once the one-year ban on the appointment of defeated candidates ends. The ban ended on May 11, 2011.
Roxas is president of the ruling Liberal Party while Aquino is its chairman.
"Tinanggap po kahapon ni Mar Roxas ang alok ko na maging kalihim ng DOTC...patuloy niyang gagampanan ang iba pang tungkulin na iaatas ko sa kanya," the President said.
"Hindi pwede magtiwala sa kung sinu-sino, dapat may kakayahan at kailangan na kaya akong sabayan sa pagtahak sa tuwid na landas dahil maraming mamahaling proyekto ang hawak ng ahensiyang ito," Aquino said.
"Kailangan ko ng kaibigang reresponde sa mabilis na pangagailangan," said Aquino.
Unexpected resignation of De Jesus
Aquino said he was supposed to give a different post to Roxas because he did not expect the resignation of DOTC Secretary Jose de Jesus.
De Jesus reportedly wanted to return to the private sector. His resignation is effective on June 30 this year.
Three DOTC undersecretaries subsequently resigned from their posts, following de Jesus resignation.
During Tuesday's briefing, the President said he has already instructed Roxas to get "updates" about the DOTC from De Jesus.
Aquino also said he was giving Roxas a free hand in choosing the officials who would be working with him at the DOTC.
Aquino said Roxas will still be performing other functions under the administration.
"Patuloy pa rin ang pagpayo niya sa akin. Marami pa rin akong iu-utos sa kanya... Patuloy niyang sisilipin ang mga butil para makita ang buong kaban ng problema sa bayan," the President said.
Aquino said the "primary function" would be as DOTC secretary.
Last month, President Aquino confirmed that Roxas will become his chief-of-staff —a role that the Palace has yet to outline, amid concerns that it might overlap with other existing posts in Malacañang.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who defeated Roxas in the May 10 elections, had reportedly assured the public that there will be a harmonious relationship between him and the former senator. — TJD/VVP, GMA News