Rio throws shade on qualifications of RJ Jacinto as DICT usec

Resigned Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio took to social media to throw a subtle dig at the man who replaced him at the agency – former presidential adviser for ICT Ramon “RJ” Jacinto.

Jacinto was appointed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as the new DICT undersecretary last May 22 — the very same day that Rio’s resignation letter was accepted by Malacanang although it was submitted four months earlier.

In a cryptic post he wrote on his Facebook timeline, Rio appeared to question the qualifications of the president’s pick when he cited Section 11 of Republic Act 10844 or the law that created the DICT.

Under that provision, the DICT secretary, undersecretary, and assistant secretary must specifically be required to have “at least seven years of competence and expertise” in the following fields – information and communications technology, information technology service management, information security management, cybersecurity, data privacy, e-commerce, or even human capital development in the ICT sector.   

Although the qualification written was akin to casting a wide net on fields related to ICT, Rio compared it to the glass slipper of the children’s tale character Cinderella and that forcing the shoe to fit will only end up shattering it.

In his earlier career, Jacinto made a mark in the local music industry with his DZRJ radio station and brand of guitars called RJ guitars. He also worked in his family’s steel mill and put up a string of businesses related to television, music lounges, and restaurants.

In 2016, Jacinto created the jingle for Duterte’s presidential campaign. After the elections, he was appointed as presidential adviser on economic affairs and ICT with the rank of undersecretary.

Rio and Jacinto previously butted heads on the government’s common tower policy. Rio, a former military general and chief of the National Telecommunications Commission, opposed the recommendation of Jacinto that only two common tower providers should be allowed by the government in the first four years of its implementation.

Rio said this was also in contravention of the Constitution principles against monopolies. In a Senate hearing, Rio even branded as “misleading” the information cited by Jacinto to bolster his argument to limit just two common tower providers.

The DICT was supposed to release the formal guidelines on the common tower policy last March but it has not done so yet as of this time.

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