Stop Cabinet infighting, Drilon tells Medialdea
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday, April 26, called on Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to do his part as the "little president" of the Duterte administration by "cracking the whip" on bickering Cabinet officials.
Drilon said in a news briefing on Wednesday that Medialdea, as the most senior Cabinet official, should "take a more active hand” in settling the infighting among some Cabinet members.
“The Executive Secretary should take a more active hand in resolving disputes in the Cabinet. Today, we see Secretary Gina Lopez versus Sonny Dominguez. Recently, Secretary Lopez versus Medialdea; you see Evasco versus Bong Go. Eh hindi po maganda (It's not good). It’s not a good projection,” Drilon said, in response to questions.
The senator, who served as executive secretary of then president Corazon Aquino, recalled how he handled such issues when he was serving under the first Aquino administration.
“[He] should crack the whip in behalf of the President and bang heads. You know, when I was Executive Secretary, some Cabinet members insist that “If this is not done, I would quit.” I would call the Cabinet secretary and I say ‘Submit your resignation,’” Drilon said.
Drilon said Medialdea, as executive secretary, has more power than any other Filipino, which he must use to fix the Cabinet.
“He is the little president. He is the only Filipino who can sign for and in behalf of the President, by authority, so he must exercise his powers for the good of the administration,” he said.
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has been at odds with other Cabinet secretaries for her controversial policies on mining. President Rodrigo Duterte, however, has given her support to Lopez and reappointed her when she was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.
Two of Duterte’s closest men – Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco Jr and Special Assistant Christopher "Bong" Go – are reportedly fighting over the issue of rice importation. This led to the firing of Evasco’s pick at the National Food Authority Council in favor of NFA chief Jason Aquino, who supposedly has a direct line to Go. (READ: Growing rift between Duterte's trusted men – Jun Evasco, Bong Go?)
Drilon urged members of the Duterte Cabinet to get their acts together for the national interest.
“It is for the good of the country if they will stop bickering and criticizing each other in public, so that they can focus on the country’s most pressing concerns and challenges,” he said in a separate statement. – Rappler.com