Mayor Leoncio Evasco of Maribojoc, Bohol, who helped President-elect Rodrigo Duterte as his national campaign manager, refused to accept the offer to hold a Cabinet post.
Evasco refused the offer to man the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) post, which was once held by Rodrigo Duterte’s rival, Liberal party bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas.
“To be nominated or shortlisted for the secretary of interior and local government would be a great honor for me, since not all will be given the chance to lead the department,” Evasco said in a statement posted on Facebook, Wednesday night.
Despite having experience as the former Davao city government administrator before becoming Mayor of Maribojoc town in the province of Bohol, Evasco said clarified he is not interested in holding a Cabinet post and would just instead help the Duterte administration in other ways.
“I would like to clarify that I am not, and will not be interested in any Cabinet post. I will always be grateful for the offer, and i will always serve our newly elected president and the Filipino people in some other way, based on my capacity and skills,” he said.
Evasco is also an ordained priest, who once became a rebel in the 1970s.
In a parallel news, Duterte’s spokesperson Atty. Salvador Panelo clarified that Duterte’s offer to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to take on four departments is not solely for its founder, Jose Maria Sison.
"Not necessarily," Panelo said, "Ang sinasabi lang naman ni Mayor Duterte, ang ia-appoint niya dun mga progressive-thinking individuals."
He also clarified that Duterte is against the group’s armed resistance hence, the offer to work with the government.
"Sabi niya (Duterte), 'Ako, progressive ako, left ako, socialist ako, iisa lang naman ang pinaglalaban namin ng nasa kaliwa. But I'm against violent means to effect the changes that they and I want...' Ayaw niya ng rebolusyon," Panelo said.
"Kaya nga precisely ino-offer niya yung mga avenues para yung mga changes na nasa isip nila magagawa nila sa pamamagitan ng pamahalaan.
"Kaya nga iniimbitahan, 'O, halika, dito na kayo sa gobyerno ko, wala na tayong dahas, ano ba ang gusto niyo?... Pero the moment lumihis kayo diyan, ay, magaaway tayo,'" he added.