President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to find a replacement for former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar who filed on Wednesday his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator in the 2022 national elections.
“Wala pa pong natatagala na kapalit kay Secretary Villar (No one has been appointed to replace Secretary Villar),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Roque earlier assured that there would be no “leadership vacuum” should government officials vacate their posts to run for elective posts in the 2022 polls.
“Palagi po iyang merong OIC [officer-in-charge]. Kaya po meron tayong palaging Usec at mga Asec sa iba’t ibang mga department (There will always be an OIC. That’s why we have undersecretaries and assistant secretaries in every department),” he said in a Sept. 30 press briefing.
To date, Duterte has yet to announce an OIC that will take over Villar’s duties.
Villar, together with his wife Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, filed his COC at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City at 9:06 a.m. on Wednesday to formalize his bid for the Senate.
He will be running under the Nacionalista Party.
On Monday, Villar formally announced his resignation from the DPWH effective Wednesday after over five years as secretary.
Villar was among the individuals included in the senatorial slate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Other Cabinet members said to be running for senator under the ruling party’s slate are presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, and anti-corruption commission chairperson Greco Belgica.
Asked to name other Cabinet officials running for an elective post, Roque named Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo as the only other aspirant for an elective post.
“Para po sa mga iba pang mga Gabinete na posibleng tumakbo, ang alam ko po si Secretary Sal Panelo ang siguradong maghahain ng certificate of candidacy. Siya pa lang ang alam ko, kasama po si Secretary Villar (As for other Cabinet members who may possibly run, I know Secretary Sal Panelo is sure of filing his certificate of candidacy. He’s the only one I’m sure of besides Secretary Villar),” Roque said. (PNA)