From Navy Lt., to Aquino aide, Abaya has gone a long way in public serviceBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines – From opening doors to pulling chairs for President Benigno Aquino III as a young Navy lieutenant and as an aide-de-camp back when it was his mother, the late Corazon Aquino, who stood at the government’s helm, newly appointed chief of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) chief, Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, has gone a long way in public service.
Secretary General to the Liberal Party, Abaya said that his experience working with the Aquinos was “instrumental in my formative years as a first-term congressman” – from guiding the administration and particularly during the impeachment case against then Chief Justice Renato Corona wherein he was part of the prosecution panel.
And although he admitted that outgoing Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas would be a tough act to follow, Abaya said that his first act as incoming head of the DOTC would be to ensure the “continuity” of the programs his predecessor have started.
“Continuing his programs are tough shoes to fill too. I am not Mar Roxas,” said Abaya after the President announced Friday that he would take over the helm of the DOTC while Roxas will assume the DILG top post following the death of Jesse Robredo in a plane crash off Masbate on August 18.
The Cavite lawmaker said that he would ensure that the reforms instituted by Roxas be realized.
He said he looked forward to understanding more about the tasks of the DOTC which are an integral part of the nation’s progress as it aimed to “revitalize our airports, ports, and other infrastructure.”
Abaya has been described by fellow lawmakers as a serious but silent worker in the House of Representatives.
On his third term as lawmaker representing the first district of Cavite, Abaya has signified that he would accept tasks that Aquino would give him after his work at the House of Representatives.
But before moving to the DOTC, Abaya said he would oversee the deliberations on the proposed P2.006 trillion national budget.
The Cavite lawmaker chairs the House committee on appropriations which is presently scrutinizing the budget and he has until October 15 to ensure the passage of the proposal.