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The Top 10 squabbles under Duterte. Find out the main event (Second of 2 Parts)

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Oh how we miss the good old days of the Aquino administration when the turf war only involved two camps: Balay and Samar.

Under the Duterte administration, the battle lines have become blurred as the President cobbled together a mix of cronies, aides, childhood friends and fraternity brothers to run the government. That would probabaly explain why news reports abound about the messy relationships between his men and women.

Here are the top 10 fights that have rocked the administration so far:

5. Evasco-Valdez vs. Piñol

If Evasco was Valdez’s backer, Aquino found an ally in Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol regarding the issue of rice importation.

Piñol was of the belief that it was unnecessary for the government to import rice since it is the harvest season. He said doing so will only put farmers at a disadvantage.

After Valdez was fired, she accused Piñol of trying to meddle in the rice importation program even though the DA should not be involved.

4. Evasco vs. Andanar

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s departure from his duties speaking for the President was believed to be part of Evasco’s plan to purge the administration of people he suspects to be bad for Duterte.

Evasco, a rebel priest turned politiko, was said to have a deep dislike for Andanar, a former broadcaster.

The Cabinet Secretary’s resolve to kick Andanar out became stronger as the former news anchor committed blunders that earned him the unsavory moniker of “Miscommunications Secretary.”

Evasco, Duterte’s trusted man, finally prevailed as presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella became in charge of the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s content and messaging while Andanar was relegated to monitoring news clippings and overseeing the payroll.

3. Gina Lopez vs. Sonny Dominguez

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez have been at loggerheads over the issue of mining.

Lopez has accused Dominguez of trying to “usurp” her authority in closing down and suspending mines through a review by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).

While Lopez has signed on as Dominguez’s co-chair of the MICC, she said she only belatedly realized the adverse impacts a review will have on her crackdown on erring mining companies.

Dominguez use to be a top executive of Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. and Rapu-Rapu Mining which as responsible for one of the worst mining disasters in the country.

Malacanang has tried to end the squabble between the two officials by saying it is Duterte who will prevail on the issue.

2. Gina Lopez vs. Salvador Medialdea

It’s not only Dominguez who wants to stop Lopez in her tracks in reforming the mining industry.

Recently, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has opposed Lopez’s order for mining firms to fork out P2 million compensation for farmers and fisher folk before mining firms could transport their stockpiles from their mine sites.

Lopez said Medialdea has “counteracted my directions to every mining company that I gave my directions to.”

The feisty Environment Secretary accused Medialdea of “going away with the spirit of the Duterte government” because he is blocking something for the farmers’ benefit.

1. Evasco vs. Bong Go

They may both have a long history with Duterte, but not all seems to be well between Evasco and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.

The cracks in the two men’s relationship became evident with the firing of Valdez, Evasco’s protege.

According to the grapevine, Aquino was able to score an audience with Duterte with the help of Go, whom he is said to be close to.

Aquino’s closeness to Go was said to be the reason why he was brazen in defying Evasco on the issue of rice importation. The Cabinet Secretary wanted private traders to take care of it while the NFA administrator wanted it to be a government to government transaction.

While Go practically controls Duterte’s schedule, Evasco reportedly complained of being left out of the President’s inner circle, with nary an access to him.

Amid rumors of a rift, the two men posed for a photo in Davao City recently.

Whether efforts to mend their ties are for real or aren’t will be seen in the coming days.

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