Marcos reappoints OICs of gov’t agencies, departments
Still unable to find permanent heads for several key offices under his administration, President Marcos has again extended the terms of the officers in charge (OICs) of various agencies and departments after their appointments expire at year’s end.
Nearly six months into office, the President has yet to appoint the secretaries of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of National Defense (DND) and Office of the Press Secretary (OPS). He currently serves as agriculture secretary.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 12 signed on Dec. 29, the extension of the services of the OICs would “ensure continuity in government operations.”
OICs of departments, agencies, bureaus and offices, including noncareer executive service officials occupying career executive service (CES) positions are to “perform their duties and discharge their functions until a replacement has been appointed or designated, unless otherwise earlier terminated.”
CES officials occupy managerial positions under the Philippine civil service system.
The circular said CES eligibles now occupying CES positions, including candidates for CES eligibility, “shall continue to perform their duties and discharge their functions” unless they are replaced or their successors are appointed.
On his first day in office on June 30, Mr. Marcos issued Memorandum Circular No. 1, which extended the tenure of OICs to July 31. On July 27, he issued Memorandum Circular No. 3, amending the earlier circular to extend OIC tenures to Dec. 31. Even before taking his oath as President, Marcos said he would head the DA to give priority to the department in view of the country’s “severe” problems in agriculture.
“There are things that the President can do that a secretary cannot, especially because the problems are so difficult that it would take a president to change and turn it around,” he told reporters in October.
The congressional commission on appointments had bypassed the nominations of Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo. The President reappointed Pascual and instead of reappointing Tulfo, designated Social Welfare Undersecretary Eduardo Punay as OIC on Dec. 23.
Tulfo’s appointment was bypassed due to questions about his citizenship and his libel conviction. “An announcement will soon be made on Secretary Tulfo,” Press Undersecretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said on Tuesday. Velicaria-Garafil herself is the OIC of the OPS.
In an interview early this month, Marcos said he was not yet keen on appointing the secretaries of the DOH and DND.
He said Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the DOH OIC, had been “doing a fine job.”
He also said he was “happy with the situation” at the DND under Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino.
Former Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles had said that Faustino, a former military chief of staff, would assume the post of DND secretary on Nov. 13, in accordance with the law prohibiting the appointment of military officers to a new post in government within one year of their retirement.
It remains unclear whether Secretary Zenaida Angping, who asked for some “personal time” off as head of the Presidential Management Staff would return to her post. INQ