The spokesman of Rodrigo Duterte urged critics to respect the choices of the President-elect for his cabinet members and asked that unfair speculations be put to a stop.
Salvador Panelo said in an interview with DZMM that the President-elect will not allow any conflicts of interest and was specifically pertaining to the choice of Mark Villar, son of realty estate businessman Manny and Senator Cynthia Villar, for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Panelo said that Villar, who already met with Duterte in Davao and accepted the offer, will not be allowed to build roads in their properties.
“Bigyan po natin na respeto at pagtitiwala ang mga napili ni president-elect Duterte… ‘Wag po tayong mag-alala sapagkat yung mga pangamba ninyo, si mayor agad ang makakakita doon,” Panelo said in the interview.
When asked about the connections of some appointees to former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Panelo said that it is unfair to speculate these things.
“Wag po tayo sana mag-indulge in unfair speculation dun sa mga appointee ni Mayor Duterte,” he said.
Panelo’s appointment itself is slammed by netizens for his connection with the Ampatuans accused of murdering 58 people, including 32 journalists, in 2009. He said he would not influence the court to have a favorable ruling for his clients.
After drawing praise for the initial plan to pattern his cabinet after Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s well applauded, diverse cabinet, Duterte drew flak for what many netizens claimed to be a cabinet full of questionable interests.
Previously, Panelo also clarified Duterte’s offer of some cabinet portfolios to the communists.
He said 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 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.