Noy begins move back to Times St.
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino and his appointees have started packing up at Malacañang, in anticipation of the administration of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte, who will take over by noon of June 30.

“I myself have started sorting out things and cleaning up. It’s only natural since it’s specified when we are supposed to leave,” Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told journalists yesterday.

Coloma said he is aware that they only have 48 days to go to relinquish the posts that they held for six years, and for which they serve in a coterminous capacity with Aquino, whose fixed term will end on June 30.

After a state luncheon he hosted for Prince Albert II of Monaco in April, Aquino told a group of female journalist that he has started packing his things.

He invited six women journalists into his private office for a briefing on certain government programs. The office is actually the former bedroom of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

The room is sparsely decorated, save for a painting done by his late mother Cory and on the opposite wall portraits of his parents. His desk is the same one his mother used as president from 1986 to 1992.

Behind his desk are several telephones, one of which is a dedicated hotline to key Cabinet members; a framed original copy of his oath of office; a family Bible on which he and his mother swore to serve the country; a solo photo of his father and another of his mother with a statue of the Virgin Mary.    

Underneath the console table behind him is a pair of leather slippers.

Next week, he said, the Times street home that he inherited from his parents would be ready for occupancy. He will be living there alone “not by choice,” he laughs, after he steps down.

What will he miss about the presidency, which he has less than three months of?

“When there is a problem, you are able to order the solution,” he said.

‘No need to pass FOI bill’

As far as the outgoing administration is concerned, there is no need to have the Freedom of Information bill passed by Congress, as the daang matuwid has always been transparent.

Kung tutuusin, iyong buod at sustansiya ng FOI bill ay ipinapatupad na, matagal nang ipinapatupad ng Aquino administration kahit na wala pang batas o kahit walang executive order,” Coloma said.

The chief of the Presidential Communications Operations Office issued the statement following pronouncements by Duterte that his first order will be the passage of the transparency bill.

Aquino reneged on his 2010 campaign promise to have the FOI bill approved by Congress.

According to Coloma, it is now the “prerogative” of the incoming administration on what to do with the bill that has remained pending in Congress.

The bill was passed by the Senate, but was stalled by the administration-controlled House of Representatives.

Coloma said there have been best practices in the past six years, wherein transactions of government agencies are posted on their respective websites so people can check the disbursements such as that of the Department of Budget and Management.

Malacñang said it is leaving it all up to Congress to decide whether to pass the FOI bill, which Aquino promised to pass when he was a presidential candidate in 2010 and was perhaps one of the reasons he won the presidency.

“We will just wait for the developments and we believe that the House leadership will do what is needed to be able to ensure action on the priority legislation,” Coloma told journalists in August 2015.

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