March 17, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – If elected president, Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday admitted that she will retain some Cabinet members of the Aquino administration.
At a dialogue with members of the Makati Business Club, Poe was asked to name some of the current Cabinet officials that she would invite to her administration.
While she declined to give specifics, the senator confirmed that she would ask some of President Aquino’s people to work with her.
“I do have a few people in mind pertaining to the current administration’s Cabinet members,” the presidential aspirant said.
“But with all due respect, I will not mention their names yet because I’ve not asked them formally. I don’t want to be presumptuous at this point,” she added.
Poe, however, readily enumerated the departments that she feels need a change in leadership.
“Maybe, we can do a process of elimination? I’m sure you would all agree that you already have a hunch on which departments are actually performing properly and which ones are not,” the senator said.
“I think it’s pretty obvious: DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications), BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), and (Department of) Agriculture to name a few,” she added.
Poe, who earlier led a series of public hearings on the sorry state of the Metro Rail Transit 3, has recommended the filing of graft charges against DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya for entering into anomalous contracts that endanger the safety of commuters.
She has also called for his resignation.
When it comes to tax reforms, Poe said the BIR must first be strengthened.
The senator also said she wants a tax bureau chief, who is there to empower and assist taxpayers, and not one who sees them as a “party from whom fees and other facilitation payments can be collected.”
“Even if your books are perfect and clean, they will still try to find something just so they can get something out of you. And we are sick and tired of that,” Poe said.
The presidential aspirant also vowed to work for unity if she is elected.
To do this, Poe said she would look beyond party alliances in choosing members of her Cabinet.
“It doesn’t matter to me what party you belong to as long I think you can do the job quickly and properly,” she said.
“I will ensure that the key people in charge of implementing are men and women of action who possess the necessary creativity, resourcefulness and people skills to get things done,” she added.
The senator also said she would form a council of business leaders who would meet regularly with her economic team so that they can give their input and feedback on government programs.
Stressing that loyalties and political considerations will not get in the way of honest governance, Poe said she will conduct yearly reviews of her Cabinet members’ performance and hold them to their commitments.
“Accountability would be a cornerstone of my administration. In my administration it will be very straight forward,” Poe said.
“Those who do not meet their targets will be asked to stand down. Whether they’re friends, classmates, political allies or even running mates,” she added.