Palace: No cabinet revamp, DAR chief stayingPhilippine Daily Inquirer
Rumors of a cabinet revamp are swirling around Malacañang but presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda indicated he was not aware of any immediate changes in the works.
There was rife speculation the other week that Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes was on the way. Now, there is supposedly a statement from “some lawmakers” to remove those Cabinet ministers who have been bypassed thrice by the Commission on Appointments.
Among the Cabinet secretaries who have yet to be confirmed by the CA are Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
“[President Aquino] believes that these people, the Cabinet secretaries that he has appointed to those departments are capable. These people enjoy his trust and confidence,” Lacierda said.
The President believes that “while they have not been rejected, it is important that they continue to deliver the services which they were tasked to do. So that’s his position as far as I remember speaking to him about this issue,” Lacierda added.
The latest round of political rumors come with well-timed reminders that Mr. Aquino, when he was still a senator in 2007, had filed a bill (SB 1719) that would stop the executive department from reappointing someone who has been rejected by the legislative CA three times.
The issue at that time was then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s repeated reappointment of some Cabinet members who had been repeatedly bypassed by the CA.
The Aquino bill had argued that “the intent of the framers of the Constitution in creating the Commission on Appointments was to provide an effective check and balance mechanism between the executive and legislative branch of government.”
“The act of the President in successively reappointing bypassed nominees is a clear mockery of the above mentioned principle enshrined in our fundamental law,” the Aquino bill had said.
Target of rumors
The agrarian reform secretary, although not one of the bypassed appointees, was the target of political rumors after a Cabinet cluster led by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad met with farmers and suggested the formation of a special task force to look into complaints of farmers from the Visayas and Mindanao. The farmers had called for the resignation of De los Reyes.
Mr. Aquino was on a state visit to the United Kingdom at that time.
Sources at the Department of Agrarian Reform had said De los Reyes was poised to submit his resignation. The name of Akbayan party-list Representative Arlene Bag-ao was immediately floated as his replacement.
The sources intimated that some members of Mr. Aquino’s Liberal Party were pushing for De los Reyes’ replacement.
Recently, De los Reyes came out to deny the rumors. He told reporters he had submitted his report to Mr. Aquino and was told to “do what he has to do.”
“I was not asked to leave. The President told me to continue working and to do what I needed to do,” he said in a recent interview. “I will continue to serve and as long as the President thinks that I can continue to serve,” he added. With reports from Norman Bordadora and TJ Burgonio