DAVAO CITY: Incoming President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte wants former National Treasurer Leonor Briones to be the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Benjamin Diokno to head the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
For the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Duterte is eyeing someone from the ranks while he is keen on retaining Ramon Jimenez as Tourism Secretary because of his good record.
The mayor has promised to name his appointees to the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Land Transportation Office, Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Science and Technology.
Briones has yet to say if she will accept the post. She served as National Treasurer from 1998 to 2001 and Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Diokno, who is a professor of economics at the University of the Philippines, was DBM secretary from 1998 to 2001 and the undersecretary for Budget Operations at the DBM from 1986-1991 during the administration of President Corazon Aquino.
Briones and Diokno, who both served the Estrada administration, are expected to meet with Duterte in Davao. Duterte said he cannot travel to Manila before the oath-taking because of prior commitments here, so he offered to get tickets for the two former officials.
If Briones accepts the offer, Duterte said he wants her to present recommendations on how to address gaps in the K-to-12 program particularly on marginalized students and the affected teachers.
“She is quite familiar with the problem we are facing with the implementation of K-to-12. There will be a lot of students that will be marginalized or would not be able to enroll and a good number of teachers also who have lost their positions,” he said.
Duterte said he offered the DBM portfolio to Diokno, whom he described as “the budget secretary of many presidents.”
During the Aquino administration, Diokno provided technical assistance to several major reforms such as the design of the 1986 Tax Reform Program, which simplified income tax and introduced the value-added tax (VAT), and the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines. During the Estrada administration, Diokno initiated and instituted several reforms to enhance transparency and improve the efficiency of the delivery of government services.
At the same time, Duterte blasted critics who said that he chose his “KKK” which stands for kababayan, kaklase, kasama [townmate, classmate, companion].
“Nandito na naman sila (Here they go again) sloganeering…kaibigan [friend]…no such thing,” he quipped.
“Wala akong nakilalang taga-Manila na smart o bogoc, smart o torpe ang mga taong nakilala ko sa eskwelahan yung aming mga bright hanggang doon lang ako noon [I do not know anyone from Manila who is smart or unintelligent, smart or stupid. The people I knew in school were our bright people just up to there]. Even when I was a congressman I was not socializing actually. So wala akong kakilala na itong mga looming genius sa government. Ang mga kilala ko mga brod ko, kababata ko na mahusay [So I don’t know anyone of these looming geniuses in government. The people I know are my brods, my childhood friends who are good],” he added.
Duterte said one should not appoint somebody “you do not trust.”
“You have to know the person – know his character and his capacity…and his honesty,” he emphasized.
But he pointed out that Briones and Diokno are not in the sphere of his childhood friends.