MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte designated Interior Undersecretary Catalino Cuy as acting Interior Secretary after he fired Ismael Sueno over corruption allegations.
"The Palace announces the designation of Undersecretary Catalino S. Cuy as Officer-in-Charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government effective immediately," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella announced in a statement on Wednesday, April 5.
A retired police general, Cuy will hold the position until Duterte chooses a new secretary, Abella added.
In a statement on Wednesday, Cuy said it is "an honor" to lead the DILG.
"I am taking the responsibilities given to me by President Duterte seriously, and I commit to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the DILG and its constituent agencies in the spirit of absolute fairness, unity, and dedication to public service," he said.
"Those are the things that we need in order to move forward in the President's campaign against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality. I promise all of you in the executive branch; DILG, my home department; and the Filipino people that I will not betray this sacred public trust," he added.
Cuy, undersecretary for peace and order, was not among the 3 undersecretaries who informed Duterte of the alleged suspicious activities of Sueno, information that eventually led to his dismissal.
Cuy, former aide-de-camp of ex-president Fidel V Ramos, was chief of the Davao City police when Duterte was mayor. He occupied the position before it was assigned to now Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
Cuy served as PNP director for personnel and records management under the Aquino administration. He was also among the 21 Davao City cops who were found guilty of neglect by the Office of the Ombudsman in the investigation of the summary killings in Davao City, which had been linked to the Davao Death Squad.
Political observers have predicted that Duterte would appoint former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr as the next DILG chief.
Marcos, who lost to Vice President Leni Robredo in the May 2016 elections, can only hold a government post after the lapse of the one-year appointment ban on losing candidates in May.
Duterte had said that Marcos would not likely accept the DILG post because it might compromise his electoral protest against Robredo, but Marcos said on Wednesday that he "cannot say no" to the President, if offered a Cabinet position. (READ: Bongbong Marcos on Cabinet post: I can't say no to the President) – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.