Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol has offered to resign from his post following reports of him being transferred to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
Senator-elect and former Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” T. Go confirmed on Thursday that he already gave a copy of Pinol’s courtesy resignation letter to the President tonight.
“Sa tingin niya wala na pong tiwala si Pangulong Duterte sa kanya. He is willing to give up the position. He recommended three usecs to run the office for the next 30 days,” Go said in a chance interview with reporters.
The President’s confidante also said Piñol stated in his letter that the secretary is willing to be transferred to MinDa to serve as its chief, following the death Abul Khayr Alonto.
In his letter which was read by Go to the media, Piñol said: “With the best interest of the Department of Agriculture and its stakeholders, may I request that I be relieved from my present position as secretary of agriculture and reassigned to whichever agency you believe I will be effective, including the Mindanao Development Authority or MinDA.”
Asked what prompted Pinol to resign, Go said perhaps the secretary felt that he is about to be replaced.
Go said Pinol’s resignation may also have been prompted by the dissatisfaction of economic managers on how he handled the rice crisis.
Piñol has long been rumored as on the way out, and some earlier reports said he will replaced by former Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Duterte: Piñol can help Muslim Mindanao
Meanwhile, President Duterte said he would consider Piñol as the next MinDA chief so the latter can be helpful in attending to the needs of the Moros.
But Duterte said he has yet to consult Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao interim chief Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim about this plan to transfer Pinol.
“The problem is I have yet to see Murad and all officials of the BARMM. Ang nangyari kasi ganito, walang nagtitimon for the national government. I am not saying that they do not govern…the problem…I already said, I do not see any movement there,” Duterte said in a chance interview in Malacañang.
“Sabi ko kailangan ko ng timon and that MinDa position is a cabinet position. Sabi ko pumunta ka na lang doon, tulungan mo lang ako. Get them started, hurry them up, so that they will have a first regular organized government that they have long wished for,” he added.
Saying that he continues to trust Piñol, Duterte also denied that the transfer has something to do with the way Piñol handled the rice crisis last year. He also dismissed the notion that Piñol was involved in any corruption.
He also said he has yet to find who to replace Pinol in case he is transferred to MinDA, which was formerly headed by the late Abul Khayr Alonto.
Piñol said he needed a one-month transition period so that there will be an orderly turnover of all projects and programs to my successor and ensure that the operations of the department will not be affected.
He also said he is ready to assume the new post by August 1.
Piñol also said the implementation of the programs in the department “may be waylaid if the new head of DA would be an outsider.”
Among the three “competent” agriculture undersecretaries recommended by Pinol to replace him as Agriculture secretary were Waldo-Reyes Carpio, Ariel Cayanan, and Francisco Villano.
Image credits: PNA