As far as Senator Grace Poe is concerned, somebody should take the place of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade for his supposed failure to address the country's traffic problem.
“When it comes to traffic and when it comes to dealing with solution for the traffic mess, I think somebody else should take his place,” Poe said in an interview on ANC on Thursday.
Poe compared Tugade with former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary Emilio Jun Abaya, who, she said, was the reason behind former President Benigno Aquino III’s "downfall" in delivering efficient transportation service.
“Former president clung too much to Secretary Abaya, when in fact, I think, Secretary Abaya is one the reasons that caused his downfall and failure in delivering a lot of what needed to be delivered in the DOTC at that time. Are we having a repeat?” she said.
Poe, who chairs the Senate public services committee, said President Rodrigo Duterte should see how effective Tugade is in the job even even he has his trust.
“If you don’t change leadership fast enough for a particular department, then you lose precious time,” she added.
“He did not perform and I'm sorry to say. I’m not here to make people look bad. I'm here to present the truth and find the solution,” Poe said, referring to Tugade.
She noted that if the country's transportation system is efficient, there will be no traffic problem.
Poe said the DOTr failed to present a plan to solve the traffic mess even after the Senate hearing on the matter. “That’s all I’ve been asking for, a traffic plan and a transportation plan which they did not submit,” she said.
If Duterte wants Tugade to remain in the office, Poe suggested they get a "traffic expert" to provide help.
Tugade on Poe: Masyadong bilib sa sarili
Tugade said Poe is too full of herself in suggesting a replacement for him. He noted tha the ‘only serves at the pleasure of the president.’
“Sus, masyadong bilib sa sarili. Pati ba naman posisyon ko pinakikialaman niya? I only serve at the pleasure of the President,” Tugade told GMA News Online.
The DOTr, meanwhile, defended Tugade from Poe's criticism, saying traffic management is not part of the department's mandate.
In a post on Facebook, the DOTr also denied that Tugade is not performing well, enumerating some of the agency's accomplishments under his leadership, among them the 64 airport projects, the 220 commercial and social/tourism port projects, and the ongoing construction of two railways.
"Madam Senator, hindi 'ho ugali ni Secretary Tugade ang matulog sa pansitan. Kaya nga 'ho nagpapatupad ang Kagawaran ng 24/7 construction at nagpapairal ng partial operability timelines dahil mismo sa kagustuhan niyang makapaghatid agad ng serbisyo-publiko sa transportasyon sa mga Pilipino," it said. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News