- The President-elect asked businessmen to not judge his Cabinet appointees
- Duterte claimed he was not welcomed by Manila's elite
- His Cabinet is composed of former law school classmates and nominees from the Communist Party of the Philippines
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte once again defends his choice of Cabinet appointments, which are mostly composed of friends and classmates, while attending a gathering of business leaders in Davao City.
He admitted that there weren't a lot of people he could choose from since he never tended to relationships with people from Manila back when he was studying there in the 1960s-1970s. He appealed to the businessmen - some of whom were born and raised in the capital - and asked them to not be overly judgmental about other people.
"Look, I am really dyed in the wool probinsyano...akala nila (Manila people) ang Davao bukid (farmland). So, ang nakilala ko dito sa buhay ko mga taga-Davao. Hindi naman ako niyaya ng mga sosyal sa Maynila, sabihin pa wala kang alam sa economics," he added.
(Look, I am really a province person at heart...the Manila people think that all of Davao is just a farmland. So, the people I am close to in life are from Davao. I was not welcomed by the socialites of Manila, and they told me I know nothing about economics.)
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The friends and law school classmates he approached to help him run his government include the following: Businessman Carlos Dominguez (Department of Finance), former Securities and Exchange Commission chief Perfecto Yasay (Department of Foreign Affairs), lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre (Department of Justice), and 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III (Department of Labor and Employment).
Despite this, he managed to show some flexibility when he also picked people outside his circle, like public administration professor Leonor Briones (Department of Education), economist Benjamin Diokno (Department of Budget and Management, and other individuals who were nominated by the Communist Party of the Philippines.
"Kung gusto niyo madagdag, kunin ko kayo. Just raise your right hand," Duterte announced.
(If you want to join, I’ll add you. Just raise your right hand.)
The businessmen laughed, and then proceeded to offer recommendations on moving the economy forward.