Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. declared that the only scenario which could force him to run for governor in the 2019 elections is if and when President Rodrigo Duterte himself would ask him to do so.
This was the categorical answer when pressed by the Chronicle to comment on reports that he will be in the gubernatorial race in the next local elections.
“I am not interested in the position,” Evasco maintained knowing well how much he is needed by the President in several tasks given him by Malacañang.
Evasco is presently managing no less than 12 cluster groups assigned to him by the President since the Duterte administration commenced running the affairs of the nation.
Reports circulating in political camps in Bohol started to point to Sec. Evasco as a probable admin contender to run for governor here.
This speculation heightened last week when Sec. Evasco was seen in several functions in Ubay, Trinidad, Dauis and Panglao towns and a big gathering of government officials at the Bohol Cultural Center, this city.
A noted political analyst told the Chronicle that Evasco’s being invited to several government functions lately is already an indication of his inclination to run for governor. The least would be he is now testing the political waters, the analyst concluded.
During a phone interview with the Chronicle, Sec. Evasco said his being seen in many functions in the province is part of his obligation to bring the Duterte administration closer to the people.
However, he was quick to say there is no political undertone in his visits to the various towns.
As election year is moving fast, reports are rife that the drum beaters of Evasco are now starting to move around the province. There are Boholanos working out to convince the Cabinet secretary to run for governor.
One of these is top notch Boholano businessman Fernando “Ding ” Borja who has also entered the Duterte corridors of power after he was appointed by the President as the country’s special envoy to China.
Borja is seen frequenting the province with the cabinet secretary.
If Evasco gets the instruction of the President to run for governor, then he is expected to become the top contender in the gubernatorial race considering that he is closely identified with Pres. Duterte.
Boholano electorates start to believe that electing Evasco to the top provincial post can help the province generate several projects being an insider of the Duterte administration.
Sec. Evasco has long been working with Duterte since he was still mayor of Davao where Evasco was his city administrator.
He was also Duterte’s campaign manager in the 2016 election which showcased an unprecedented victory due to Duterte’s popularity driven by his all-out campaign against drugs and criminalities.
In the event that Evasco runs for governor, it will change the political landscape in the gubernatorial race.
Rep. Arthur Yap who is serving his last term as congressman in the 3rd district earlier said that he will not run if Evasco is fielded by the President as the administration’s official candidate for governor.
Yap, who is also an insider of the Duterte administration is reportedly assured of a top national post, in case he decides not to run for governor.
Suspended Vice Gov. Dionisio Balite who is hell bent in running for governor might also reconsider his plan as he belongs to PDP Laban, also an administration party under the influence likewise of Pres. Duterte.
President Rodrigo Duterte has assigned Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco to oversee 12 national government agencies in coming up with a set of programs to reduce both the incidence and magnitude of poverty.
Section 1 of the order on “Reengineering the Office of the President Towards Greater Responsiveness to the Attainment of Development Goals” signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on June 30, mandated the following agencies to evaluate existing poverty reduction programs with Evasco’s supervision:
- Cooperative Development Authority
- Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council
- National Anti-Poverty Commission
- National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
- National Commission on Muslim Filipinos
- National Food Authority
- National Youth Commission
- Office of the President – Presidential Action Center
- Philippine Commission on Women
- Philippine Coconut Authority
- Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor
- Technical Education Skills Development Authority
“They shall develop specific programs and projects that seek to reduce poverty, improve the lives of the most vulnerable sectors of society; promote social education of the people to allow them to participate in effecting real change by keeping watch of the affairs of government; and listen to people’s feedback,” the EO read.
“They shall conduct consultations with LGUs for the proper allocation of resources and program implementation and recommend courses of action for the government to adopt to achieve a sustainable system of meeting the needs of the people, while ensuring resiliency for vulnerable communities,” it added.
Evasco was Duterte’s national campaign manager and the former mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol.
Duterte in the Section 2 of his first EO also ordered consolidating the Office and Functions of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Office of the Appointments Secretary, and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) under his longtime executive assistant Go.
Section 2 also created the Office of the President – Events Management Cluster (OP-EMC) to ensure the effective collaboration among the offices involved in managing Duterte’s activities.
OP-EMC is composed of the PMS, Presidential Security Group (PSG), Office if the Chief Presidential Protocol, Media Accreditation and Relations Office (MARO), and the Radio-Television Malacañang.