President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Undersecretary Catalino Cuy as officer in charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Malacañang announced on Wednesday.
Cuy takes over from Ismael Sueno, who was fired by Duterte from the DILG portfolio over allegations of corruption.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, in a statement, said Cuy’s designation was “effective immediately.”
Cuy served as DILG undersecretary for police matters, and was formerly chief of police of Davao City, where Duterte was mayor.
“[Undersecretary] Cuy will hold the position to ensure the continuous and effective delivery of services of the Department until the President appoints a new secretary,” Abella said.
Cuy immediately pledged to help the President’s war on drugs and criminality in a separate statement: “I am taking the responsibilities given to me by President Duterte seriously, and I commit to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the DILG and its constituent agencies in the spirit of absolute fairness, unity, and dedication to public service.”
“Those are the things that we need in order to move forward in the President’s campaign against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality,” he added.
The designation of a caretaker at the DILG came amid widespread speculation that former senator and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was the President’s choice to replace Sueno.
Marcos may be appointed to an executive post once the one-year ban on appointees who ran in the May 9, 2016 elections lapses.
Duterte, however, has repeatedly said Marcos was “not interested” in the post.
On Tuesday, the President told reporters the former senator was not expected to abandon his electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo. The protest could be rendered moot if Marcos accepts a Cabinet post.