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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, August 30, 2012
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Abaya eyed to
replace Robredo

MANILA – Leaders in both the majority and minority parties in the House of Representatives yesterday expressed their support for the possibility of naming Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya as head of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The untimely death of former DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo in a plane crash off Masbate on Aug. 18 made the post vacant.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said Abaya had the qualifications needed to fill the gap left by Robredo.

Rep. Abaya has the administrative skills to run the DILG and like the late Secretary is a silent worker who rises above politics to get the job done, Gonzales said.

The Mandaluyong lawmaker and Liberal Party stalwart also said that he preferred that the DILG post be given to an LP member, like Robredo.

Abaya is the secretary-general of LP, the party of President Benigno Aquino III.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said that Abaya would be a good fit for the DILG.

The Quezon lawmaker said that besides being a lawyer, Abaya also possesses a military background that would serve him well if he is chosen by President Aquino to replace Robredo.

Abaya graduated at the United States Naval Academy where he earned a degree in Mathematics in 1998.

Before that, he topped the entrance examination for the Philippine Military Academy before he was sent by the government to the USNA in Annapolis, Maryland.

This background would be of help since the DILG also supervises the Philippine National Police, Suarez said.

Abaya said that he was willing to accept the post if offered to him by the President. “I will do whatever I can to help the President. If he requests or offers me to help him in any capacity, I will do his bidding as a good soldier,” he said but quickly added that “there was no offer coming from President Aquino.”

Abaya’s name cropped up as being one of the possible contenders to replace Robredo.

Other contenders being floated included Davao Vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca and Senator Panfilo Lacson.*PNA

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