Palace welcomes leftist Cabinet members’ decision to stay

MANILA — Malacanang welcomed on Wednesday the decision of three “left-leaning” members of the Cabinet to stay and to serve the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Palace is pleased that Department of Social Welfare and Development Sec. Judy Taguiwalo, Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convenor Sec. Liza Maza decided to stay despite the scrapping of peace talks with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

“The President chose them as his alter egos because he believes in their capacity to serve and deliver sustainable basic social services to the Filipino people,” Abella said in a press statement.

Abella said the three leftist Cabinet members still enjoy the trust and confidence of President Duterte.

“We assure everyone that the government shall continue to pursue genuine socio-economic reforms to alleviate poverty and promote a just and lasting peace,” Abella said.

“The Duterte administration remains fully committed to the task of uniting our people and working with all sectors to achieve peace and inclusive development during its term,” he added.

Last Tuesday, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the three “left-leaning” Cabinet members have not been barred from attending Cabinet meetings.

Andanar said the three Cabinet members have been working effectively in their respective government positions.

Last weekend, President Duterte announced the scrapping of the peace talks with the communist rebels following the brutal killing of three soldiers in Bukidnon.