Arroyo telling political appointees to stay put?

June 10, 2010
Jue 10, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan revealed Thursday that President Arroyo is allegedly building up a group of loyalists in government by calling up appointed officials and urging them not to submit their courtesy resignations to the incoming administration.

Pangilinan said among the appointees that Mrs. Arroyo called recently is Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit.

“We’ve received information that these political appointees are being told not to resign from their positions. That includes General Bangit. Dati kasi, he wanted to resign and then he changed his mind,” he told reporters at a weekly press briefing.

Pangilinan said all political appointees of President Arroyo should submit their courtesy resignations “out of delicadeza” and give the incoming president a free hand in choosing their replacements. He added that the appointees could also be re-appointed “as long as they are qualified.”

He added that President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III would most likely issue an executive order revoking all “midnight appointments” of the previous administration.

In a separate interview, re-elected Sen. Franklin Drilon confirmed news that Malacañang has deferred the recall of non-career ambassadors who are co-terminus with President Arroyo.

A Philippine Star report said Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza issued a memorandum to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, revoking his recall order for all political ambassadors last April.

At least 26 political appointees are covered by the recall order including, Alexander Yano (Brunei), Vidal Querol (Jakarta), Delia Albert (Berlin), and Generoso Senga (Tehran).

In an interview, Drilon lamented that President Arroyo seemed to be following the example set by President Carlo Garcia, who appointed 350 officials a day before President Diosdado Macapagal, Arroyo’s father, took office.

Macapagal later canceled the appointments, which was backed by the Supreme Court. (Read: Arroyo’s father opposed midnight appointments of Garcia)

He also noted that all political appointments should have been completed by March 9, a day before a 90-day midnight appointments ban took effect.

“An appointment is completed only after the acceptance and assumption of office of the appointee. If you were appointed today, it doesn’t mean that you take over the office immediately. As long as the person doesn’t accept the appointment and you have not assumed the office and taken your oath, the appointment is not complete. The entire process should have been completed before March 9,” he told radio dzMM.

President-elect Aquino on Wednesday promised an immediate review of more than 200 “midnight appointees” who were allegedly given positions in government just before the elections appointment ban.

He noted that his own staff said that there were 4,000-5,000 positions that needed to be filled up in government, but Malacañang has said there were only 1,000.

Aquino said his new executive secretary and legal teams are now conducting an inventory of all appointive government positions as well as review the appointments of officials who were given fixed terms in government.

“We need to determine how many positions are really needed. Also, all lawyers will agree that the power to appoint also carries with it the power to dismiss.That has been decided in so many precedent-setting cases. I will probably ask all these people to give me a free hand in reorganizing all of the positions attributable to presidential appointees. Mahirap naman po na sa umpisa pa lang eh may mamimili kung susunod o di susunod,” he said.With a report from Ricky Carandang, ABS-CBN News

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