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MANILA, Philippines - Newly-appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Friday said he's 'no Jesse Robredo', even as President Aquino outlined a list of ambitious priorities for the new DILG chief, including the dismantling of private armies.
In a press conference in Malacanang, where President Aquino on Friday officially announced Roxas' appointment, the new interior and local government secretary said he could never match what Robredo did at the DILG over three years.
"Napakalaki, napalawak at napakaselan ng responsibilidad sa DILG," Roxas said. (The responsibilities of the DILG are very big, very wide, and very sensitive." "More than this, I have big shoes, big tsinelas to fill. Di po ako si Jesse Robredo."
Roxas vacated his post as Department of Transportation and Communications head, which was given to Cabite Representative Jun Abaya. Robredo died in a plane crash two weeks ago.
President called on the Commission on Appointments to confirm the appointments of Roxas and Abaya as soon as possible.
"They cannot sit in their respective posts until they are confirmed," the President noted. "Congress is in session so we cannot make an ad interim appointment. This is why we are asking the CA to act on these appointments immediately."
Aquino said he wants Roxas to attend to pending investigations being undertaken by the DILG, without specifying any particular case.
He said Roxas will also have to prioritize the upgrade of the facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penelogy. "BJMP facilities are in a sad state now that's why it is easy for prisoners to escape," Aquino said.
The President said Roxas will also have to prioritize the dismantling of private armed groups, ideally ahead of the 2013 polls.
As for Abaya, Aquino said the lawmaker will have to make sure that all priority infrastructure projects, especially those that are related to tourism, are delivered on time.
President Aquino denied that Roxas' designation is meant to boost the chances of the administration party in the 2013 and 2016 elections.
"His primary function is to advance the country's interest over the party's interest," Aquino said.
He also denied that Roxas' appointment was spurred by political expediency.
"Political expediency connotes that he is not qualified and we are doing this as a favor to him," the President said. He insisted that Roxas was really on top of his list of choices for the DILG post.
He said Roxas and the late Robredo both enjoyed his "complete trust."
Roxas, a defeated vice presidential candidate in 2010, for his part insisted that he himself is not giving the 2016 presidential polls much thought for now.
"I can only succeed with all thoughts of 2016 out of my mind," he said.