Honasan urged to retain Rio as senior undersecretary at DICT

As Malacañang released on Thursday, November 22, the appointment paper of Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II as the new secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), a senator has called for the retention of acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. as an undersecretary at the agency.

Incoming DICT secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II (in dark shirt) with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. Photo credit: PCOO

In a statement, Sen. Ralph Recto said there is no need for Rio to step out as the country will benefit from the combined skills of the two officials, noting that “two workhorses are better than one.”

“It will be a waste of talent if Rio, with his good credentials — double engineering degree holder, ECE board topnotcher, academic, and ex-general who has had 50 years experience in the field of telecommunications — will be let go,” said Recto.

Recto pointed out that if Rio will stay, transition disruptions that usually follow the changing of the guards will be avoided.

“He is good for one last tour of duty, at a crucial point in our nation’s life when important developments in the ICT sector are happening, including the authorization of a third telco — which must, like any public utility, be subjected to oversight and held to its promised deliverables,” the lawmaker said.

Honasan’s appointment paper was released two weeks after he accepted Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to head the DICT.

Duterte signed Honasan’s appointment paper on Nov. 20, making him the second senator to get a Cabinet portfolio under the present administration. In May 2017, Duterte appointed Senator Alan Peter Cayetano as foreign affairs chief but the latter eventually resigned to run as congressman of Taguig City in the 2019 mid-term polls.

Honasan, a former military colonel, is replacing Rio, also a former military general, who has been heading the DICT since its first chief, Rodolfo Salalima, quit last year.

Under Rio’s supervision, Mislatel, a consortium composed of Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics headed by Davao businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecom, got the government’s approval to become the country’s third major telco player.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said questions on the 70-year-old Honasan’s competence in the field of ICT will be up to the Commission on Appointments (CA), a congressional body.

“It is not for us to decide on that. It will be the CA. There will be a vetting process and he’ll have to respond to the questions on his competence,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing on Thursday.

“When the President nominates, it’s for the Commission on Appointments to approve the nomination,” he added. – with Jelly Musico (PNA)

Comment on this post