Palace says it won't publish appointment papers of Duterte execs
File photo shows presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The STAR/Joven Cagande
Palace says it won't publish appointment papers of Duterte execs
Alexis Romero ( - September 4, 2020 - 12:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has stopped releasing copies of appointment papers and is leaving it up to officials to decide whether to make their appointments public.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque revealed that such a policy exists as he was answering questions about the appointment of Dante Gierran as president of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

"As to the appointment of Gierran, well, we used to post it, but now, our policy in the OPS (Office of the Presidential Spokesperson) is it’s up to the appointed official to post it if they want," Roque said at a press briefing Thursday.  

"We just confirmed that an appointment has been made and we did not have to confirm it because the President himself announced to the Philippines that attorney Gierran is the next president of PhilHealth," he added.

The Palace spokesman was asked to react to Gierran's claim that he has not received his appointment papers.

Roque said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea is behind the policy.

"I do not know. I’ll ask the Executive Secretary because apparently it’s the Executive Secretary that said it’s enough we confirm appointments, we don’t have to post appointment papers," he said when asked whether Malacañang could retain the policy of releasing appointment papers.

While Malacañang is no longer proactively releasing copies of appointment papers, Roque claimed the administration remains transparent because it still confirms information about new designations.
"There is still transparency because we confirm the appointments. But the appointment paper itself is addressed to the appointee, so it’s up to the appointee if he wants to release that," the Palace spokesman said.

Roque said the policy was adopted after he stepped down as presidential spokesperson in 2018. He said the policy was already being implemented when he returned to the post this year.

"The transparency is still there because we announce the appointees," Roque said.

Palace reporters learned as early as October last year that the Malacañang records section has stopped releasing copies of appointment papers. Members of the media were provided with lists of appointees instead. Malacañang last released a list of new appointees in March, days before the government imposed lockdowns to contain the coronavirus.

Critics have accused the Duterte administration of lack of transparency, citing the airing of edited speeches of the president and its refusal to release his medical records. Some groups have also scored the president for not releasing copies of his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth. 

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