THE Cabinet of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will be a mix of old and new faces and former military men.
As his opponents in the presidential race conceded defeat, the next Philippine President gave reporters a glimpse of who will make up his official family.
Duterte said he is considering former military men and close friends for posts in his Cabinet, including Jesus Dureza and Carlos Dominguez 3rd, he told reporters in Davao City on Tuesday.
He may also appoint Dureza, his classmate in high school, as presidential peace adviser, he added.
Dureza was the Press secretary under the administration of Fidel Ramos. He also served as peace adviser to former President Gloria Arroyo.
The mayor said he is eyeing Dominguez for the Transportation or Finance portfolios.
Dominguez, a businessman in Davao City, is Duterte’s long-time friend. He was an Agriculture secretary during the presidencies of Ramos and Corazon Aquino.
Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, may be named Foreign Affairs secretary.
Cayetano, who is trailing in the vice presidential count, has three years left in his Senate term and cannot be appointed to a government post within a year after the elections.
The tough-talking mayor said former military men will occupy “lower echelons” in his administration.
“Do not be surprised if others are military people. Meron akong mga kilala [I have friends], they are already retired,” Duterte noted.
Meanwhile, Peter Laviña and lawyer Salvador Panelo will be his spokesmen in Davao City.
His campaign manager, Leoncio Evasco Jr., “will stay beside me,” Duterte said, without giving details.
On the campaign trail, the Davao mayor has promised to appoint Albay Gov. Joey Salceda as head of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Sources inside Duterte’s camp also floated several names for the Justice portfolio.
They said Duterte’s fraternity brothers may composed the mayor’s legal team.
The mayor is a member of Lex Talionis fraternity.
Among those mentioned was Duterte’s classmate at the San Beda College of Law — Vitaliano Aguirre.
Aguirre was one of the private prosecutors during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He was also one of the lawyers of Hubert Webb in the controversial Vizconde massacre case.
Also mentioned was Salvador “Bingbong” Medialdea who is based in Davao City.
It was Medialdea who filed Duterte’s Certificate of Candidacy at the Commission on Elections in Manila.
Medialdea is a graduate of the San Beda College of Law.
He began his career at the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA) Law Offices.
Medialdea is the son of former Supreme Court Justice Leo Medialdea.
Also in Duterte’s legal circle are veteran lawyer Panelo and former Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida,
Sources said other legal personalities who supported Duterte and who may end up working alongside the soon-to-be President are Alfredo “Fred” Lim and Richie Kho.
The Times source said Evasco may be appointed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Evasco was a former mayor of Maribojoc, Bohol.
The former priest was once a member of the communist New People’s Army.
Laviña also on Tuesday said Duterte is willing to talk with China over a highly sensitive territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Duterte is also willing to form partnerships with China to extract gas and oil deposits that are believed to be in the sea, as well as explore joint fishing management systems, he added.
“This is the difference between the current and the Duterte administrations, the mayor is open to bilateral talks with China,” Lavina told reporters in Davao.
China and the Philippines, under President Benigno Aquino 3rd, had endured steadily worsening relations in recent years as they sparred over joint claims to parts of the South China Sea, one of the world’s most strategically important waterways.
China claims nearly all of the sea, even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations.
To enforce its claims, it has built contested reefs into artificial islands, some topped with military-capable airstrips.
China also in 2012 took control of Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing area within the Philippines’ economic exclusive zone.
The Philippines filed a legal challenge with a United Nations tribunal asking it to rule that the Chinese claims to most of the sea are invalid.
Lavina said Duterte will continue with the UN case.
A verdict is expected soon after the mayor is sworn into office on June 30.
Duterte’s closest rival in the presidential race, Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, conceded defeat also on Tuesday.
Fighting back tears, the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer said Duterte was the clear winner in the May 9 polls.
“Simulan na natin ang pagbuo sa minamahal nating bansa. Galangin at tanggapin natin ang pasya ng ating mga kababayan. Ayon sa unofficial count ng Comelec, malinaw na si Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ang magiging susunod na Pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas [We should begin nation building. We should respect the decision of our voters],” Roxas said.
“Digong, I wish you success. Ang iyong tagumpay ay tagumpay ng ating bansa [Your success is the success of our country],” he added, using Duterte’s nickname.
Sen. Grace Poe was the first to congratulate Duterte, saying at a press briefing toward midnight after the elections that she was giving way to him after having fought a good fight.
Malacañang also threw in the towel on Tuesday as President Aquino wrapped up his own monitoring of the conduct of the polls inside the Presidential Situation Room.
“Our people have spoken and their verdict is accepted and respected,” said Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.
“The path of good governance or daang matuwid [straight path]is already established as all presidential candidates spoke out against corruption, and in favor of continuing and expanding present pro-poor programs, and pursuing more initiatives to sustain the strong economy and achieve inclusive growth,” he added.
WITH JOEL M. SY EGCO, LLANESCA T. PANTI AND AFP