Duterte fires labor undersecretary Joel Maglunsod

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, October 2 said he fired another leftist appointee, Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod. 

"[Si] Joel Maglunsod pinaalis ko. Pinagbigyan ko sila noong bago ako kasi gusto ko ma – nandoon sila sa opisina, Joel Maglunsod, sila lahat.... Sama-sama pa kami sa Davao," Duterte said.

(I made Joel Maglunsod get out. I gave them a chance when I was new because I wanted to – they were there in the office, Joel Maglunsod, all of them.... We were all together in Davao.)

The President was apparently referring to his meeting with Leftist leaders early in his administration. Ahead of his assumption as Chief Executive, Leftist nominees  – who eventually joined his Cabinet but later left after faling to get the nod of the Commission on Appointments – attended meetings in Davao City too.

Ironically, Duterte was then speaking in front of communist rebel returnees in Catarman, Northern Samar.

It appeared he had fired Maglunsod because of his strong ties with the Left, with which Duterte had a falling out, ultimately leading him to cancel formal peace negotiations.

"Makipag-away ka sa akin, makipag-barilan ka tapos ngayon sabihin mo kasama tayo sa gobyerno, itong mga powers na 'to. Kalokohan 'yan," the President said.

(You fight against me, shoot it out, then you say we are together in government, with these powers. That's ridiculous.)

Labor groups slammed Duterte's for the "wrong" decision, saying Maglunsod was active in pushing for policies favorable for the workers.

Another leftist, former Gabriela Women's Partylist representative Luzviminda Ilagan, remains undersecretary at the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Last August 20, Leftist appointee Liza Maza  had resigned from her post as chairperson of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, after murder charges were filed against her and 3 other Leftists. The charges were eventually dismissed. 

Maza had also resigned to protest the termination of peace talks and the return of the Marcoses to power, which she said Duterte was aiding.

Duterte's other Leftist appointees to the Cabinet, former agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano and former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, were not confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

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 pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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