Legazpi City (Nov. 30, 2016) – “The president is extremely democratic.”
This was how Sec. Ernesto Abella described Pres. Rodrigo Duterte while denying reports that cabinet members were being required to side with the president on certain issues.
The presidential spokesperson said that the president respects each and every opinion of his secretaries on national issues.
He told the media in an interview that the president did not oblige any of them to “toe the line.”
Citing the Marcos burial as an example, Abella revealed that Sec. Judy Tagiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had been very vocal against the stand of the president.
The president however, according to the spokesman, never forced Tagiwalo to change her viewpoint.
The DSWD secretary is one of the members of the cabinet who is known to have had affiliations with the Left, whom Duterte himself appointed into office.
Sec. Tagiwalo, Abella says, has realized that there are bigger tasks to be accomplished in the country.
“This is the reason, why she (Tagiwalo) has not left the cabinet.” he disclosed, apparently equating it the recent resignation of Ma. Serena Diokno as chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Tuesday.
Diokno resigned declaring her opposition to the burial of the former president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Media reports has quoted her saying, “The burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is wrong; it denies our history, erases the memory of lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom.”
Malacanang Palace had already released a statement thanking Diokno for her services to the nation. (J. Garalde)