P-Noy says no issue in reappointing qualified Cabinet officials

June 30, 2010 12:24 pm 

By Mediatrix P. Cristobal

MANILA, June 30 – Incoming President Benigno Aquino III defended his decision to retain several Cabinet officials who worked for outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, saying these people are well-qualified to take the post under his administration.

“Kung ganoon ang pananaw siguro dapat isisante natin ang buong bureaucracy dahil nagtrabaho silang lahat kay Gng. Arroyo. Mali siguro pananaw na yan. Kung walang issue ginawa ang tao nagkataon nagsilbi doon (If that's the case, maybe we should fire the entire bureaucracy because they all worked for Mrs. Arroyo. I think that viewpoint is wrong especially if the person has no misgivings),” he said during a press briefing announcing the members of his Cabinet Tuesday in Quezon City.

Several Cabinet positions went to known allies of Aquino's mother, former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino. One of such allies is retired Lieutenant General Voltaire Gazmin, who was chief of the Presidential Security Group under the late President's administration, who was named Defense Secretary.

Meanwhile, Alberto Romulo was retained as Foreign Affairs Secretary. Manila Electric Company president and Chief Operating Officer Jose de Jesus got the Transportation and Communications portfolio. Romulo was the Budget chief under President Cory's administration while De Jesus was with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Aquino said De Jesus was "one of the most if not the most hardworking" members of his mother’s Cabinet.

“As DPWH secretary, he used to sleep three hours a day to make sure government projects are done on a timely and correct manner. His only luxury was a five-hour rest period during Sundays. First assignment is to make sure he sleeps more than three hours a day because he is a work-driven individual who will oversee the transformation of DOTC characterized by the NBN-ZTE deal into an agency that truly serves the interests of the people,” Aquino said.

The incoming President responded to queries on criticisms he might face upon appointing old-timers, or people who have served previous administrations, including the Arroyo government which he has openly criticized.

“I don’t think Sec. de Jesus will mind., Sec. De Jesus started government service during the Marcos administration. When he served my mother, if I were to give out awards at that point in time, he would be No. 1 on the list or very close to No. 1 on the list of people deserving the best performing award,” he said.

“If we adopted the rule anyone who served under Marcos would be automatically disqualified, our country would have been deprived of the services of de Jesus,” he said.

Aquino pointed out that De Jesus was one of the engineers who crafted the flyovers which have greatly reduced traffic in the metropolis.

“He had so many criticisms leveled at him, had so many cases filed at him by losing bidders. It took him until the middle of former President Fidel V. Ramos' term to finish all those cases so I am really fortunate someone as industrious and produced so many results has consented to helping me out again,” he said. (PNA) LAP/MPC


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