(UPDATE) Malacanang has yet to make the announcement but Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II will be taking over the Department of Interior and Local Government, a senator claims.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, reportedly one of the frontrunners to replace the late DILG secretary Jesse Robredo, has said Roxas will be appointed instead.
In an interview over radio DWIZ, Lacson said "it’s (now) just a matter of official announcement from Malacañang."
"No-brainer naman ito," he said of the appointment of the administration Liberal Party's president as DILG chief.
Lacson said he has already talked to Roxas to congratulate him.
"Early last night, galing ako sa hearing sa Comelec, sa opisina, may missed call ako nakita sa telepono. Tinawagan ko siya. Alam ko even before tumawag siya (na) parang formality na lang, nanombrahan siya at si (Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio) Abaya bilang secretaries ng DILG at DOTC respectively,"
President Benigno Aquino III had been reportedly eyeing appointing Lacson as head of DILG or as an anti-crime czar when his term ends. Lacson said, however, that he was pragmatic enough to realize that an LP member would get preference to lead "such a sensitive position."
Roxas, who sailed through confirmation hearings as Transportation secretary, will have no problems getting the nod of the Commission on Appointments, Lacson said.
He also said Rep. Abaya, LP secretary general, will be appointed head of the Department of Transportation and Communications to replace Roxas.
He added LP has enough talented and qualified members to fill Cabinet positions.
"So tama lang, tama lang, walang appointment could be any more perfect dito sa dalawa," he said.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday announced a $1.8-billion military upgrade to help defend his country's maritime territory against "bullies", amid an ever-worsening dispute with China.