Locsin takes over DFA helm

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Hailed by the Palace as a perfect successor to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. said he has accepted President Duterte’s offer to head the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Locsin announced his acceptance in a social media post.

“I was asked I said yes,” Locsin posted.

“But love UN, the many friends & intellectual companions I made. But I didn’t say no when asked as I didn’t when he told me I was UN ambassador,” he added.

“If my Tito Chito Ayala trusted him implicitly; how can I not. Still UN work is like sharpening a blade every day,” Locsin also said.

Cayetano will seek a congressional seat in Taguig City during next year mid-term elections.

A veteran journalist and a lawmaker, Locsin said as DFA chief he would still be interacting with the UN where his team has pushed Duterte’s independent foreign policy during its tenure.

“I will have a direct hand until the architecture of sovereign independence in all matters of state that my team started to erect is remitted. Talent that doesn’t exist outside DFA will complete it,” Locsin said.

The President indirectly confirmed the offer to Locsin as he jokingly asked Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to call Locsin and ask if he can announce his name to the media which he already called out.

Prior to becoming an ambassador, Locsin was an ABS-CBN journalist, lawmaker and newspaper publisher and also served as Makati representative from 2001 to 2010.

Locsin was also speechwriter and press secretary of then President Corazon Aquino after the People Power Revolution against the Marcos dictatorship. Duterte appointed Locsin as envoy to the UN in 2016.

Faeldon to BuCor

Deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and former Bureau of Custom Chief Nicanor Faeldon will also move to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disclosed yesterday.

The appointment of Faeldon came on the heels of the filing of certificate of candidacy of BuCor chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa.

De la Rosa is seeking a Senate post and has already joined the PDP party of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The President has chosen Nicanor E. Faeldon to replace Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa as director general of the Bureau of Corrections,” Guevarra said.

He added he interposed no objections to the proposed appointment of Faeldon.

Faeldon though will seek the favorable endorsement of the Civil Service Commission as part of the requirements under the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013.

Prior to his appointment at the Office of Civil Defense, Faeldon was the former chief of Customs but resigned due to the controversy over the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that passed through the BoC. He tendered his resignation thrice before Duterte accepted his resignation.

Guevarra said he designated lawyer Jose Mari Ronaldo Ledesma as officer-in-charge-Associate.

Commissioner at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Atty. Grifton Medina as acting chief, ports operations division.

Medina will replace Mark Red Marinas, who will run as mayor of Muntinlupa City against incumbent Mayor Jaime Fresnedi who is seeking third and last term as mayor of the city in the far south of Metro Manila.

Rody to talk to Harry

Mr. Duterte also revealed he will still talk with presidential spokesman Harry Roque as he remains undecided about seeking a Senate seat in the 2019 mid-term elections.

“The flight was smooth. When we were talking about Harry, I became dizzy… I told Bong (Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go) where would we go from here,” said Duterte during his arrival interview in Davao City from Bali, Indonesia, where the Chief Executive attended the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering.

“I’ll just talk to him. Better. Will he run or not? He should decide before 2021. Much longer space to make the choice with finality,” the President added.

Roque is currently in China for a private engagement and will return to the Philippines on Monday, 15 October, two days before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the upcoming polls.

The President earlier had said Roque was free to go if he wanted to resign after being kept out of the loop as regards the Chief Executive’s checkup at Cardinal Santos Medical Center last week, adding Roque said he wanted to resign after he was put in a bad light with the media when he said the President only took the day off on 3 October and stayed at Bahay Pangarap inside Malacañang complex.

Duterte then appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo as his spokesman in place of Roque.

“This is what happened… I hope I would not offend Harry. He said he will run for senator, so I said yes and, automatically, I thought of replacing him with Sal (Salvador Panelo). Well, if you want it then I’ll scout for another legal adviser,” Duterte said.

“Then the next day he said he will not run, then the next day he said he will, but then Bong (Go) said he will not run.”

with Elmer N. Manuel

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