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PIA Press Release

Aquino says he plans to retain Robredo

Manila (8 September) -- President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday (September 7) he does not plan to replace Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo over the tragic hostage-taking incident two weeks ago, reiterating that the DILG Acting chief was just tasked to focus on local government units.

The President stressed that Robredo's appointment is in an acting capacity only, along with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje and Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

"It does no good to get him (Robredo) through the whole process of the Commission on Appointments only to find out at the end of the day there might be difficulties in our working style, among other things our core philosophy, so we did agree in his being appointed in an acting capacity along with Paje and Baldoz.

But for Secretary Baldoz, he said, "she was very hesitant to take the position (of DOLE). She would have preferred one of the agencies attached (to DOLE) but I prevailed upon her. (So far) she has really been performing so well so I might discard our agreement that we will no longer insist on her replacement to join the government. I might ask Baldoz to just continue with what she is doing."

Asked if he would change his mind on Robredo with what happened two weeks ago, the President said "I don't think that has a bearing at this point in time, as I explained,he had other functions other than just the police aspect."

As to whether he would keep Paje, the President hinted that there were two other people in mind for the DENR portfolio but they were not available. So "Secretary Paje is aware of that. One year is a significant amount of time, depending on performance. We might need to re-evaluate the need to get somebody else."

In another development, the President said Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Jesus Verzosa asked for an optional retirement way before the hostage taking incident two weeks ago.

"But we agreed on a date in September. He can serve up to December but he asked to be given optional retirement," the President said. (rdlc/4:30 p.m) [top]

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