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Malacañang defends ‘recycling’ of sacked officials

Malacañang on Thursday deflected criticisms that President Duterte’s antigraft drive was sending mixed signals with the reappointment of some public officials he had fired over allegations of corruption.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque played down Sen. Bam Aquino’s statement that such reappointments tended to give a different interpretation of the President’s resolve to stamp out corruption.

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Roque said that of the more than 20 presidential appointees whom Mr. Duterte had fired, only three were reappointed to other positions in the government.

“It is not the rule, but it is the exception to the rule,” he said.

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New set of appointees

Roque defended the President’s move as Malacañang announced a new set of appointees, including Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña and Manuel Serra Jr.

La Viña was named undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), taking over the position vacated by now Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Serra was named a member of the board of the Philippine Coconut Authority.

La Viña was first appointed commissioner of the Social Security Systems in November 2016, but Mr. Duterte did not renew his appointment when his term expired in June 2017.

The President said he had sacked La Viña for “his abuse of public funds.”

Serra was a commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor when he and four others were fired by the President in December last year for making too many foreign trips.

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Mr. Duterte also fired Nicanor Faeldon as commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Melissa Avanceña Aradanas as commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor but later reappointed them to other government posts.

‘Executive prerogative’

Roque stressed that in La Viña’s case, the decision of Mr. Duterte to reappoint him was an “executive prerogative.”

The other appointees were Nepomuceno Malaluan, undersecretary of the Department of Education; Emilio Aquino, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Bruce Tolentino, member of the Monetary Board; Raul Lambino, presidential adviser for Northern Luzon;

Nuzar Balatero and Eduardo Pagulayan, director II of the Bureau of Internal Revenue; Richard Alvin Nalupta, register of deeds II of the Land Registration Authority; Aleli Hernandez, Ma. Cresencia Sunga, Ma. Paula Domingo, and Libertine Cagang, director III of the Department of Budget and Management;

Edgar Danao, director IV of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS); Miguel Fernando Oraa, deputy director III of OTS;

Nancy Bantog, director IV of the Department of Science and Technology; Rene Valera, director III of the Department of the Interior and Local Government; Cameron Odsey, director III of the DA; Jacqueline Caancan, director IV of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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TAGS: Corruption Scandal, Graft and Corruption, reappointment of government officials
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