Reports that Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno would be replaced by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda are “fake news,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.
“I don’t know where it comes from. Why will I do that? We have assembled a great team,” Mr. Marcos told reporters.
“We’re trying to go down a certain direction…it’s a very, very poor time to, as they say, change horses in midstream.”
Diokno, who also served as Socioeconomic Secretary in the previous Duterte administration, has said he maintains good relations with the President, adding he is “old enough in this game to even bother” about such rumors.
Salceda, touted as the economist of the House of Representatives, earlier denied that he would succeed Diokno as finance chief.
Diokno said he has since spoken with Salceda, whom he described as a friend.
“Oh no. Hindi po,” Salceda, the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said when asked about the reports.
“I have nothing to do or start this DOF news flow. It is not my style,” he added.
Salceda said he was content with shepherding fiscal strategies of the administrations he had worked with since 2006.
“Do not covet thy neighbor’s job. In past administrations, as in the present, I was able to move fiscal policy from my seat in Congress,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
“From the fiscal reforms of 2003-2006 to the economic reforms during the 2008 global financial crisis to the Duterte-era CTRP (Comprehensive Tax Reform Program), up to the present, I have worked with the Secretary of Finance, not as the Secretary of Finance,” he added.
Salceda vowed to continue working with Diokno, saying the President knew best.
“Secretary Ben is a good friend and as long as he’s Secretary of Finance, I will work closely with him,” he said.
“The President ultimately makes the decisions on appointments. The Cabinet, after all, is his official family. He has an SOF already. Until he says otherwise, any talk of any appointment is pointless speculation,” the Albay solon added.