Allan Cabanlong, the assistant secretary for cybersecurity and enabling technologies at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), has confirmed to Newsbytes.PH that he is leaving the agency.
This developed after newly appointed DICT secretary Gringo Honasan chose to pick IT executive Emmanuel “Manny” Caintic to replace Cabanlong in his role as the top official in charge of cybersecurity concerns.
Multiple sources told Newsbytes.PH that the appointment papers of Caintic specifically named him as replacement of Cabanlong. But Caintic, who has already reported for duty at the DICT main office, said in a mobile phone interview that he does not yet know his exact area of concern as assistant secretary.
Sources said Cabanlong — who oversaw the bidding and initial rollout of the P508-million Cybersecurity Management System Project, the country’s flagship cybersecurity initiative — has been recommended to become the executive director of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC).
Newsbytes.PH earlier reported that Gilbert Sosa, a retired police general who used to head the anti-cybercrime unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP), was supposed to be appointed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as CICC chief. But the appointment apparently has not materialized yet.
Cabanlong appeared open to the possibility of taking up the CICC role. “Let’s wait and see,” he told Newsbytes.PH. The former policeman is familiar with the job as he has already handled the role in a concurrent capacity as DICT assistant secretary for cybersecurity and enabling technologies.
The CICC executive director was supposed to be the cybersecurity czar in charge of formulating a national cybersecurity plan and extending assistance for the suppression of real-time commission of cybercrime offenses.
However, with the passage of the RA 10844 — the law that created the DICT — the functions of the CICC and its executive director were transferred to the DICT. Thus, the main role of the CICC is now confined to coordinating anti-cybercrime efforts among law enforcement agencies such as the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, officials and employees at the DICT are still on a wait-and-see attitude as there are now five undersecretaries in the agency. They are Eliseo Mr. Rio Jr., Denis Villorente, John Henry Naga, Jose Arturo de Castro, and Eleazar Almalbis Jr.
Republic Act 10844, also known as the DICT Law, requires that there shall be three undersecretaries and four assistant secretaries. The secretary of the DICT, however, may still appoint his own officials provided that they will be co-terminus with his term.