Piñol submits courtesy resignation to Duterte – Bong Go

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Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) — Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has submitted his courtesy resignation to President Rodrigo Duterte, according to Duterte's former aide and senator-elect Bong Go Thursday.

"With the best interest of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its stakeholders in mind, may I request that I be relieved from my present position as secretary of agriculture and reassigned to whichever agency you believe I would be effective, including the Mindanao Development Authority," a copy of his letter obtained by CNN Philippines reads.

Piñol recommended three Agriculture undersecretaries -- Waldo Carpio, Ariel Cayanan, and Francisco Vilano -- to take over for 30 days while Duterte decides on his replacement.

But Duterte said he has yet to take to talk to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim to seek his opinion on the new post being considered for Piñol.

"I think the role of a Mindanao chieftain sa gobyerno [in government] so that he can really implement the obligations and the responsibility of the national government to the Moro people. I want the Moro happy," he said.

The President also added there will be a "mini-revamp" in his Cabinet.

But Go also said Piñol's resignation comes after some of the Cabinet members blamed the Agriculture chief for the rice shortage the Philippines experienced in 2018.

"Marami na po siguro siyang naririnig na part of continuing asssessment or evaluation po ng iba't ibang departamento ng executive department," Go said in an interview. Go has also received a copy of Piñol's letter.

[Translation: He must've heard some of the continuing assessment or evaluation of other departments in the executive branch.]

Duterte, however, clarified that Piñol's resignation is not due to corruption.

"It's not corruption. He's not corrupt. He's just talkative," he said.

His former aide added Piñol still enjoys the trust of the President, especially if he is appointed to head MinDA.

"May tiwala naman siguro," he said. "Siguro naman kung itatalaga niya sa MinDA si Secretary Piñol, nandidiyan pa rin 'yung tiwala niya."

[Translation: There might be trust, still. Maybe if Secretary Piñol is appointed to the MinDA, he still trusts him.]

Pinol, should he lead MinDA, will replace Datu Hj. Abul Khayr Alonto who passed away on May 9.