Duterte defends cabinet appointees: ‘They are not corrupt’

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Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte names his possible Cabinet members in a news conference in Davao City, Monday (May 16).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte dismissed rumors that some of his appointees are due to influence-peddling by his allies.

In a late Saturday night press conference which ended Sunday morning (May 22), Duterte defended his cabinet, stressing that his appointees are “valedictorians,” “expert in their fields,” and “are not corrupt.”

Evangelist Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte’s long-time friend, has expressed displeasure over the presumptive president’s choice of appointees.

Watch: Quiboloy hurting about Duterte's cabinet choices

Quiboloy’s camp said the pastor was not consulted on the various appointments made by Duterte.

But Duterte pointed out that all of his supporters must accept that he has to make decisions that go beyond friendship. Duterte said: “My friendship ends where [the] interest of my country begins.”

Watch: Duterte cabinet continues to take shape

Duterte drew flak from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the National Press Club (NPC) when he appointed Atty. Salvador Panelo as presidential spokesperson.

Panelo was a lawyer for Andal Ampatuan Jr. in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case — where 58 people died, at least 34 of which were journalists — but withdrew as counsel in November last year.

Aside from Panelo, Duterte's appointment of Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar as Public Works secretary was also criticized, given that the Villar family is into real estate development.

Duterte, meanwhile, announced that former Defense Secretary Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr., who was offered same post in the cabinet, declined the proposition.

Lyceum of the Philippines official Peter Laurel, grandson of former President Jose P. Laurel, also declined Duterte’s offer to be the secretary for the Department of Education (DepEd).

CNN Philippines’ Trisha Terada and Davao-based correspondent Ben Tesiorna contributed to this report.

Also read: Duterte offering Cabinet posts to the CPP