P-Noy reappoints Department of Energy chief, 6 envoys
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has reappointed Carlos Jericho Petilla as energy secretary.

Petilla is the only member of the Aquino Cabinet who has not been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Also reappointed were Arthur Lim as member of the Commission on Elections and Nieves Osorio as member of the Civil Service Commission.

Six ambassadors were issued new appointments: Mary Jo Aragon (Thailand and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), Maria Zenaida Angara Collinson (Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic), Maria Teresita Daza (India and Nepal), Alfonso Ver (Bahrain), Pedro Renato Villa (Kuwait), and Lourdes Yparraguierre (United Nations in New York).

The CA bypassed the appointees when Congress went on its month-long Christmas break last Dec. 19, prompting Aquino to reappoint them. Their papers have been submitted to the CA.

Not in the list of appointees Malacañang has sent to the appointments commission for confirmation is acting Health Secretary Janette Garin, who has replaced resigned secretary Enrique Ona.

However, one CA member, Rep. Rodolfo Albano III of Isabela, said he does not foresee any problem with the confirmation of Garin, a former Iloilo congresswoman.

“Secretary Garin has solid credentials as a medical and healthcare professional. She has a proven track record not only as a physician but also as public servant,” he said.

“We are confident that Secretary Garin will be able to fulfill her mission in delivering affordable, efficient and effective healthcare to the Filipino people, especially the poor,” he said.

He added that the acting health secretary should be able to win the support not only of her former House colleagues but of senators sitting in the CA as well.

Malacañang has also sent to the CA the promotion papers of 92 other career members of the diplomatic service and 54 military officers, many of them generals.

The most senior of the military officers are Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Maj. Gen. Raul del Rosario, Rear Admiral Primitivo Gopo, Lt. Gen. Oscar Lopez, Rear Admiral Joseph Ronald Mercado, Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, Rear Admiral Aurelio Rabusa Jr., Maj. Gen. Ivan Samarita, Maj. Gen. Demosthenes Santillan, Maj. Gen. Isagani Silva, Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar, and Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma.

Vetting starts

Meanwhile, the search committee designated by President Aquino to screen candidates who will be appointed to government posts has started vetting the nominees for the impending vacancies in several constitutional bodies, a Palace spokesman said yesterday.

Among the most sensitive positions to be vacated next month are in three independent constitutional commissions – the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Civil Service Commission.

“The vetting process is still ongoing as this involves the appointment of a chairperson of an independent constitutional body,” Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office told reporters, referring to the Comelec.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., along with commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, are set to retire this year.

“Due diligence is being exercised to ensure that the prospective appointee possesses the necessary qualifications and will meet the people’s expectations in terms of competence and integrity,” Coloma said.

While Brillantes was appointed by Aquino in January 2011, he is only serving the unexpired term of his predecessor, retired Supreme Court justice Jose Melo, who was Comelec chairman during the May 2010 presidential elections.

The same is true with incumbent COA Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan, who only served the unexpired term of her predecessor Reynaldo Villar, and with CSC Chairman Francisco Duque III, who replaced former chairperson Karina David.

Reliable STAR sources said former deputy executive secretary for legal affairs Joe Nathan Tenefrancia will take over Brillantes’ post.

Tenefrancia is allied with former chief presidential legal counsel and defense secretary Avelino Cruz, who also serves as counsel of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Other Comelec contenders include retired SC justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Aquino’s former House colleague representing Samar; Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Winston Ginez and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

The common denominator among the three is that all of them are products of the San Beda College of Law. Insiders hinted, however, that De Lima – while she is a veteran election lawyer – is more inclined to seek a Senate seat in 2016.

There have also been persistent reports that Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares will be taking over COA.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner John Philip Sevilla – who has reportedly submitted his resignation about four times since last year – might also take the place of Henares, according to insiders.

The looming vacancy in the BOC will be filled by Secretary Manuel Mamba of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office under the Office of the President, sources said. – With Delon Porcalla


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