Duterte appoints Honeylet's cousin as HUDCC deputy secretary general

GET-TOGETHER. PCUP Commissioner Melissa Avanceu00f1a Aradanas (center, in black) visits President Rodrigo Duterte and Honeylet Avanceu00f1a in Bahay Pangarap.

Photo from Melvyn Avanceu00f1a Aradanas Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may have fired all the commissioners of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) but he has allowed one of them back in government: the cousin of partner Honeylet Avanceña.

Duterte appointed Melissa Avanceña Aradanas as deputy secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

The President signed the appointment papers of Aradanas on Wednesday, March 7.

Rappler first wrote about Aradanas' close ties to Avanceña. Duterte eventually confirmed that she is a cousin of his partner.

Duterte fired Aradanas, along with other PCUP officials led by Terry Ridon,  in December 2017. The night before Duterte announced he was firing the PCUP executives, Aradanas had visited the President and Avanceña in his official residence, Bahay Pangarap.

It was supposedly Aradanas who had questioned PCUP chairman Terry Ridon’s alleged practice of calling en banc sessions only for policy-making decisions and not for day-to-day operational matters – one reason Duterte cited in his decision to fire the commissioners.

Aradanas is so far the only fired PCUP commissioner to be given a new position in the Duterte administration.

Aradanas is not the only relative of Honeylet in government. Another cousin, Jhopee Avanceña, heads Malacañang's Internal House Affairs Office (IHAO). – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.