Would Roxas retain Abaya in DOTC? 'I expect a clean slate'
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Will Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) chief Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya be retained if the administration's standard-bearer Manuel 'Mar' Roxas is elected this May?
"I expect a clean slate," Roxas told editors and reporters at The Freeman, who hosted the roundtable in Cebu City on Friday, April 8.
Abaya has been widely criticized for the state of Metro Manila's public transportation systems, including the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit (LRT). He has also drawn flak for problems in the Land Transportation Office and the transportation regulatory board, and the bullet planting racket at the international airports.
On Saturday, April 2, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 experienced a 5-hour blackout that caused at least 80 domestic flights and 4 international flights to be cancelled. NAIA's general Jose Angel Honrado called the blackout "bad luck."
Several senators including Grace Poe, Juan Ponce Enrile, Francis Escudero and Ferdinand Marcos Jr have called for the resignation of Abaya in the past, calling the DOTC chief "incompetent."
Roxas had called for due process in responding to calls for Abaya's resignation. "Itong mga panawagan na ito ay dapat batay sa kung anong kinalabas ng imbestigasyon. Meron naman tayong proseso, so tingnan natin, antayin natin kung ano talagang nangyari," Roxas was quoted as saying in GMA News.
Roxas was in Cebu to campaign with his local allies in the vote-rich province of 2.7 million voters. Abaya had visited Cebu on March 31 to campaign for the Liberal Party (LP) tandem of Roxas and Leni Robredo.
Abaya is the current president of the LP. He told DOTC employees to tell their family and friends to vote for Roxas and Robredo, despite a warning from Commission on Elections and Civil Service Commission to their employees against campaigning. (READ: Gov't employees barred from campaigning on Facebook)
"The private sector and I would expect a clean slate so that there’s new energy, new perspective, new ideas," Roxas said without answering the question directly if he'd retain Abaya.
"The problems in 2016 are very different from the problems of 2010. And that is always part of the growing and developing process," he added.
While in Cebu, Roxas belittled the key alliances his rivals made in Cebu by calling them "discredited politicians."
In Cebu province, the majority of mayors, the governor and vice governor belong to the LP. – Rappler.com
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