Marcos appoints Abalos DILG as Chief Spokesperson

Former MMDA President Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos Jr. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will appoint his campaign manager Benhur Abalos as his next Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Speaking to reporters in the town of Mandaluyong on Friday, Marcos spokesman Victor Rodriguez said Abalos had accepted the president-elect’s offer to lead the DILG.

“I would also like to announce that President Benhur Abalos has been appointed to head the Ministry of Interior [and Local Government]and he accepted the challenge of leading the Ministry of Interior and Local Government,” Rodriguez also said during a press briefing.

Abalos is a former mayor of the city of Mandaluyong and former chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority before joining Marcos’ campaign team.

He is the second person to join Marcos’ new cabinet, after the latter announced that his running mate, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio, would be his next education chief.

At the same press conference, Rodriguez disavowed an alleged list of potential Cabinet members that has been circulating on social media.

Among the rumored nominations are party list representative Sagip Rodante Marcoleta for justice secretary and retired professor Clarita Carlos for foreign affairs chief.

“There is no truth in this apparent list. Walang listahan (There is no such list). By far the only two names we have announced are that of Vice President-elect Inday Sara Duterte for the Ministry of Education and later I am announcing the appointment of President Benhur Abalos as head of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government,” Rodriguez said.

He added that the Marcos camp is looking for a Cabinet member who will be competent enough to serve the public, who loves the country, respects the Constitution and who is not involved in any plans to overthrow the government.

Marcos said earlier that he would choose cabinet members based on their skills and willingness to work with the next administration, regardless of their “political orientation”.

“We are in the process of scouting and scouting potential candidates for different Cabinet positions. I don’t think anyone should expect that he can be announced in one sitting because, as you know, the verification process takes time and nominating and appointing someone, it’s not a one-sided thing, you have to accept it and offer it,” Rodriguez said.

“Titingnan natin ‘yung kanilang (We will look at their) qualifications and skills. But I think to be sure, there will be new faces who will make up President-elect Bongbong’s cabinet,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez said he, Abalos, former Davao del Norte Congressman Anton Lagdameo, South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. and former Manila lawmaker Nadia Angping will lead the transition team from Marks.

“The campaign executive committee will serve as the transition team and for the names of the transition team, it should be led by yours truly,” he added.

“Those are the names I’m free to reveal at the moment, but that’s the composition of our transition squad,” Rodriguez said.

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