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Two administration allies in Congress on Monday recommended Liberal Party secretary general Mel Senen Sarmiento as the possible replacement of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, just hours after the party's presumed standard bearer announced he is quitting the post.
Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, chair of LP's membership and organizing committee, said Sarmiento is "the best man" to take over Roxas' position.
Just as Roxas is one of President Benigno Aquino III's key troubleshooters during crisis situations, Treñas said Sarmiento is one of the Interior Secretary's top advisers and problem solver.
He added that Sarmiento already has a strong grasp on the workings of local government units, having been a recipient of leadership excellence awards when he was mayor of Calbayog City, and former Secretary General of the League of Cities of the Philippines.
"I think that Congressman Mel Sarmiento is the best choice for the DILG. He and Secretary Mar have the same work ethic and have the same focus and commitment if they want to get things done. It would be really great if he will accept it if he is offered the job," the lawmaker said.
In a separate statement, Davao City representative and House Labor Committee chair Karlo Alexei Nograles expressed hope that Sarmiento would be named as Interior Secretary once Roxas formalizes his resignation from the Cabinet.
"Although I am not an LP, I fully support Congressman Sarmiento because I know him as someone who is level-headed, hardworking and highly principled. It would be nice if he becomes DILG Secretary. Walang masamang tinapay sa taong 'yan," he said.
Earlier in the day, Roxas confirmed his impending resignation from the Cabinet.
He said he will meet with Aquino Monday afternoon to formally tender his resignation and discuss the turnover of his duties.
Treñas said he already anticipated Roxas' resignation this week after President Aquino formally endorsed him last July 31 as the LP's standard bearer in the 2016 elections.
"Secretary Roxas can now focus on his quest for the presidency. There's no doubt in my mind that he would step down soon. Hindi naman siya epal at kapit-tuko sa posisyon," he said.
GMA News Online has sought Sarmiento's comment to reports about his possible appointment as DILG Secretary but he has yet to reply as of posting time. —ALG, GMA News