Gringo Honasan formally accepts offer of Duterte to head DICT

Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan has formally accepted the offer of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the outgoing lawmaker said in a statement on Friday, November 9.

Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan

“For a better Philippines, a better government, for the Filipino people, and for a better future for our most precious children, I have decided to accept the offer of the President to help lead the DICT,” Honasan said in a media statement.

Honasan, who is ending his second term in the Senate and is no longer eligible to run in the 2019 elections, issued the statement in response to the pronouncement of Duterte in a media interview in Boracay that he has offered the post to Honasan who has yet to accept it.

“Yes, that is true. I think he’s toying with the idea of joining but I’m not sure if he has decided to actually join,” Duterte was quoted saying after being asked whether or not he has pitched the position to the former rebel soldier.

If confirmed by the Commission of Appointments (CA), Honasan will be the second secretary of the DICT since the agency’s creation in 2016. Eliseo M. Rio. has been acting secretary of the DICT since the resignation of Rodolfo Salalima in 2017.

Newsbytes.PH broke the story last year regarding Honasan’s impending appointment as DICT chief, noting that “he was likely to assume the post after the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno in the event that the House of Representatives transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate.” Sereno, however, was ousted by the Supreme Court via a quo warranto petition.

Prior to his appointment, various indications of Honasan’s looming designation were evident. Aside from doing regular visits to the DICT main office in Quezon City, his chief of staff has already taken office there as some sort of an “advance party”.

Aware of criticisms of his apparent lack of credentials in the field of ICT, with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto even joking that he is still using a Nokia 6420 (two units of Nokia 3210), Honasan said he will be taking up the DICT post to provide management and direction to the agency.

The 70-year-old lawmaker said there are enough competent people at the DICT who can assist him and perform technical work. Among them is Rio, a professional electronics and communications engineer and former general at the Armed Forces, who is likely to slide back to his post as undersecretary.

Also, as noted by 2017 story of Newsbytes.PH, the DICT could benefit from the appointment of Honasan who has the ears and trust of Duterte. “As long as he has access to the president, we’re good. His staff can take care of the technical matters,” a source said.

After attending high school at Dos Bosco Technical College, Honasan took up Economics at UP where he became a member of the Alpha Sigma fraternity. He then went on to the PMA, where he graduated as “Class Baron”. In 1981, he took up his Masters Degree in Business Management at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

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