Senate secretary can stay–for now

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MANILA, Philippines—Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes can heave a sigh of relief after the Civil Service Commission (CSC) ruled she could stay at her post until the senators vote on her replacement when they meet in session in June.

Reyes has reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 for government employees. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile appointed her temporary replacement shortly after.

Enrile’s move was seen to cause a lot of discomfort for Reyes, who was expecting an extension in her job until June 5, when the senators return and her permanent replacement is voted upon in plenary.

Failure to defend Enrile

 

Reyes herself was not silent about speculations that Enrile appointed a temporary replacement in retaliation for her refusal to defend him at the height of the recent public furor over his selective distribution of additional bonuses to 18 of the 23 incumbent senators.

It was Enrile’s resigned chief of staff, Jessica Reyes, who wanted the Senate secretary (no relation) to indicate her support for Enrile, Senate sources told the Inquirer.

In a March 8 letter, CSC Assistant Commissioner Ariel Ronquillo said the commission’s rules indicate that any service extension would be “good for only one year” and that the only exception is “when that person is appointed to a position that is coterminous (or) primarily confidential in nature in which case he/she continues in office until his/her appointment expires or is earlier terminated.”

There were no indications that Enrile terminated Reyes’ appointment. Reyes, however, chose to use up her leave credits while the CSC deliberated on her query.

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