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Duterte offered DSWD post to senator 'long before' Taguiwalo CA rejection

DUTERTE'S CHANGING CABINET. President Duterte meets DSWD chief Judy Taguiwalo in Malacau00f1ang. Presidential photo

DUTERTE'S CHANGING CABINET. President Duterte meets DSWD chief Judy Taguiwalo in Malacau00f1ang.

Presidential photo

Apparently, President Rodrigo Duterte already began considering candidates to replace Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary "long before" she was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

In a conversation with reporters over dinner on Monday, August 21, Duterte said he made the offer informally to a lady senator he refused to name, "long before" the CA made its final decision on Taguiwalo.

Parinig lang, long before I said na bakante 'yan (I just hinted, long before I said the position is vacant)," said Duterte.

"Pa-slide lang (I just slid it into the conversation), but that was long before the decision had been taken up," he also said.

A female senator is among the President's choices to replace Taguiwalo after her appointment was rejected by the powerful CA on August 16.

But Duterte isn't confident that this mystery lawmaker will be willing to relinquish her current position.

"I don't know if they're willing to let go of – senador na (since she is already a senator)," he said.

However, the senator knows he is "interested in her" for the vacancy in the DSWD.

All female senators, except Loren Legarda and Risa Hontiveros, are re-electionists. Legarda is under the Nationalist People's Coalition which has an alliance with Duterte's political party, PDP-Laban. Akbayan Senator Hontiveros is part of the Senate minority. 

The other female senators are Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, and Leila de Lima, who is detained in Camp Crame over drug charges.

When asked if he would consider a man for the top DSWD post, Duterte, not known for his political correctness, said, "Alangan naman 'lagay mo diyan bakla (As if I would put a homosexual there)."

Taguiwalo, in a send-off ceremony with DSWD employees on Tuesday, August 22, said she felt sad that Duterte did not "keep his faith" in her "until the end."

She previously revealed that, on the night before the ill-fated CA hearing, she asked for a meeting with Duterte to report to him about corruption in her department and to personally thank him for giving her the opportunity to serve in the Cabinet. Duterte refused to meet with her. 

Taguiwalo also expressed frustration over why the CA did not explain their reasons for rejecting her.

She felt she was rejected because of her order that limited political influence in the selection of beneficiaries of social aid, and her position against the administration's tax reform package. (READ: NPA links or pork barrel? Why the CA rejected Taguiwalo)

Duterte maintained that he could not have prevented her rejection, though he has vast influence in Congress, because he wanted to respect the CA's independence. – 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.

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