Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday denied claims that he ordered former Railways Undersecretary Cesar Chavez to step down from office.
“For the record and contrary to the insinuations of others, I did not cause or ask Undersecretary Cesar Chavez to resign,” Tugade said in a text message sent to reporters.
Earlier, Chavez announced the submission of his irrevocable resignation addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, stepping down from his post as the Transportation Undersecretary for Railways.
Chavez said that his resignation is “a simple sense of delicadeza” amid several technical breakdowns of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
Tugade said he still gives his “full trust and confidence” to Chavez although he is surprised by the latter’s decision.
“He has my full trust and confidence. We have been doing plans and strategies together, up and until yesterday. Even by texts as I was on sickbay,” Tugade said.
Earlier, Senator Grace Poe admired Chavez for his ‘sense of delicadeza’ but expressed doubts over the latter’s resignation.
“I respect Usec. Cesar Chavez for tendering his resignation in the light of the MRT problems. I admire his sense of delicadeza although I doubt that that is the only reason that prompted him to resign,” Poe said.
Poe then urged Tugade to immediately find a ‘qualified’ undersecretary as a replacement to Chavez.
Poe added she is hopeful that Tugade will “do the right thing for the country, learning from the mistakes of the past,” saying that the secretary should look for someone who can ‘hit the ground running’ and ‘not a mere politically connected OJT.’
“To avert a vacuum in leadership that could be detrimental to the daily train riders, especially the MRT, we appeal to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to immediately find a new but qualified undersecretary for rails,” Poe said.
“We hope that in finding a replacement, Secretary Tugade will carefully look into the qualifications, capability, competence, and commitment of the person because the task at hand is complex and has a critical impact on the lives of our commuting public,” the lady senator added.