Malacañang announced Friday the resignation of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu due to health reasons and the appointment by President Rodrigo Duterte of Rizalina Justol as the new chairperson of the Commission on Audit.
Acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the announcement Friday, noting that Justol’s appointment paper was signed by the President on February 17.
Nograles also said DENR Undersecretary Jim Sampulna had been designated as officer-in-charge of the department.
“We wish Secretary Cimatu good health as he transitions from his decades-long and stellar service in government to private life,” Nograles said in a statement.
In a letter from the Office of the President dated February 17, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea informed Cimatu that his resignation had been accepted effective immediately.
Cimatu resigned Monday after serving the department since May 2017, after he was picked by Duterte to replace former Secretary Gina Lopez whose appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.
Cimatu is a retired Brigade Commander of the Philippine Army and was the 29th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He also once served as the country’s Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East with the rank of Ambassador.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Cimatu was appointed as an overseer of the government’s intensified pandemic response strategies in Cebu City on top of his job as DENR secretary.
Meanwhile, Nograles confirmed the appointment of former DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda as Senior Deputy Administrator of the National Irrigation Administration, replacing Abraham Bagasin.
“We wish Senior Deputy Administrator Antiporda success in NIA, as it advances the government’s national irrigation program towards growth in the agriculture sector,” he added.
Justol, for her part, Justol served as the Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration under the Office of the President. She
also served as the accountant of the Davao City government under Duterte’s term as mayor.
Justol will serve a seven-year term as COA chief, replacing Michael Aguinaldo whose term ended on February 2.