MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - President Benigno Aquino III has not accepted the resignation of Undersecretary Benito Ramos as head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). So the Palace asked: If there's no vacancy, how can there be an appointment for his replacement?
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told Rappler Monday, January 14 that he was unaware of reasons why Ramos would meet with his prospective replacement, retired Army general Eduardo del Rosario. Both met Monday morning at the NDRRMC office in what was relayed to reporters as an orientation meeting.
Lacierda said that Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has already accepted Ramos' resignation, but that the President has yet to do the same.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Lacierda said he discussed Ramos' resignation with Aquino during the vin d'honneur last Friday, January 11.
"The President, in that meeting, never categorically stated that he was accepting the resignation but he seemed to be inclined to do so. But we have not received any word yet," Lacierda said.
The spokesperson also stressed that as the appointing power, the President must first accept Ramos' resignation, and be the one to choose his replacement. He confirmed though that Del Rosario is among the contenders.
"In the event that the President will accept the resignation of Benny Ramos, he has already a list of recommendees to the post—one of them being General Del Rosario as mentioned. The resignation of Benny Ramos is effective on February 1 so we still have to wait. If it will be accepted, we will have to wait for the next appointee."
Lacierda added, "I don’t know the qualifications of who will be replacing (him). Certainly each person brings in his own style of management, his own style of running an office, so let’s wait until the appointment has been announced."
Head of Robredo search ops
We reported last Friday, January 11, that Ramos has resigned and that his resignation takes effect February 1. Lacierda confirmed that Ramos has offered to quit thrice already to attend to his ailing wife, who has diabetes. It's not clear if this is the only reason for Ramos' resignation.
Del Rosario told reporters Monday that it was Gazmin who had offered him the job.
Both Ramos and Del Rosario held a press conference to address questions on the transition. But they also belatedly pointed out that Del Rosario's appointment has not been approved by President Aquino.
They were forced to end their joint press conference Monday noon when Department of National Defense spokesman Peter Galvez announced that the President has yet to approve the transition.
Lacierda said the Palace was aware of the press conference but "it shouldn't matter anymore."
Del Rosario, who retired from the AFP in November last year as commanding general of the 2nd infantry division based in Tanay, Rizal, headed Task Force Kalihim, which searched for the ill-fated plane that carried then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, an aide and two pilots in August 2012. Robredo and the two pilots died in the crash.
Ramos, also a retired general, resigned reportedly to attend to his ailing wife, who has diabetes. - Rappler.com