[PHOTO -Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. FILE PHOTO]

MANILA, OCTOBER 1, 2012 (INQUIRER) By TJ Burgonio - Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is taking a leave of absence as president of the Liberal Party in view of the 2013 elections and to be able to focus on his job, and President Benigno Aquino has accepted this decision.

“To remove any suspicion, I deemed it best to take a leave of absence, and this has been accepted by the President,” Roxas told reporters after taking his oath as Interior Secretary before the President at Malacañang’s Reception Hall.

By taking a leave of absence, Roxas said, he could focus on his job at the Department of Interior and Local Government and “faithfully perform” his job.

Roxas said his first act as interior secretary on Monday would be to file a leave of absence from the party presidency, and submit this to the President. He is taking over from the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash last August 18.

Roxas could not immediately say who would succeed him as party president, and said party rules provide a mechanism for succession.

Under the rules, the party’s executive vice president would assume a vacancy in the presidency, but that position was held by the late Robredo.

Roxas said that the party secretary general, incoming Transportation Secretary Joseph E. A. Abaya, would move up as the new EVP. But the party would decide whether Abaya or the LP vice president, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, would assume the presidency.


Mar takes oath as new DILG chief By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated September 30, 2012 12:00 AM

[PHOTO - President Aquino administers the oath of office of new Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas at Malacañang yesterday. Looking on are Roxas’ wife Korina Sanchez, mother Judy Araneta Roxas and son Paolo, and Leni Robredo, widow of the late DILG chief Jesse Robredo]

MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said yesterday he wants to focus on his role in ensuring peace and order as well as strengthening local government units.

Roxas filed a leave of absence as president of the Liberal Party (LP) as he took his oath of office before President Aquino at Malacañang yesterday.

He said he wants only one “hat” to help him avoid conflict of interest in dealing with the LGUs and the police.

He said the upcoming 2013 election is also one of the reasons why he had to focus on one job only to ensure that the people would enjoy “freedom from fear” as the Philippine National Police (PNP) would now be under him.

Roxas said he spoke with the President about it and he was expecting that he would approve of it. He said the President was surprised with the idea since the Chief Executive seemed comfortable with him being head of the LP and the DILG.

He said the safety and security of the people are paramount and that despite progress and statistics showing crime incidents were down, there would always be victims needing to obtain justice and feel safe.

Roxas said under the party rules, he would no longer have much duties and responsibilities and that the executive vice president would assume “whenever there is an incapacity or vacancy in the presidency.”

Unfortunately, Roxas said the LP executive vice president was the late DILG chief Jesse Robredo.

Incoming Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya is the current LP secretary-general.

Roxas also gave assurance that he would continue Robredo’s projects, especially in promoting transparency in LGUs and the proper way of spending people’s money.

Roxas said he has not yet chosen his undersecretaries, including the replacement for Rico Puno, who resigned after a controversy related to guns purchase at the DILG.

He said he would still have to look into the issues and study the documents since he never laid a hand on them before taking oath.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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