Beeline of job applicants grows longer at Palace
- Marichu A. Villanueva () - June 4, 2004 - 12:00am
Job applicants and favor-seekers known to be close to the administration are making a beeline for Malacañang amid indications that President Arroyo will get a full six-year mandate.

On different occasions, the Palace has been abuzz with politicians and other personalities supposedly seeking positions in government.

This was confided to The STAR by a Cabinet-rank official, an influential adviser of Mrs. Arroyo in her Koalisyon ng Karanasan at Katapatan para sa Kinabukasan (K-4) party, a sub-Cabinet official who is close to the President, and a top security adviser.

However, Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye was quick to deny yesterday to The STAR any jostling for government posts that may be up for grabs soon.

"Those that are forming the lines (to the Palace) must really be bees," he said, laughing. He refused to comment further.

The President has gained a winning margin over closest rival Fernando Poe Jr. in unofficial and partial tallies. But she has steered clear of making statements concerning likely appointments to her new Cabinet amid accusations from the opposition that she was being presumptuous.

Congress has yet to complete the canvassing of votes and proclaim the winning president and vice president.

Citing massive poll fraud by the Arroyo camp, the opposition maintains the belief that Poe should sit as the next president.

The Cabinet official, who requested not to be named, told The STAR that he rarely goes to the Palace nowadays for Cabinet meetings. "Not unless the President herself calls me up and instructs me (to come) for a meeting with her at the Palace."

At Malacañang, "there’s a bee-line of people for you-know-what reasons," the official observed.

Three weeks ago, Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo had asked his colleagues in the Cabinet to submit their respective courtesy resignations as co-terminus officials of the President.

Mrs. Arroyo’s term ends on June 30. By this time, Cabinet members, presidential advisers and other Cabinet-ranked officials should have all tendered their courtesy resignations.

These courtesy resignations in effect render all positions vacant until Mrs. Arroyo re-appoints or names new officials.

A K-4 official similarly expressed exasperation over some political leaders who have been "shoving" their resumé at him in the hope of being appointed to government.

"And she (Mrs. Arroyo) is not even proclaimed yet. How some people could be so crude," the K-4 official fumed.

Hearing the K-4 official’s comment, a young sub-Cabinet official who was on the same table with him agreed.

"They did not even respect the President’s private time while she was in Cebu," the sub-Cabinet official lamented.

The President sought solitude in Cebu City last Sunday, attending a prayer vigil at the Carmelite Sisters’ convent.

This reporter, who covered the President’s three-night stay at the convent, personally witnessed the arrival of certain personalities to see the President.

A close-in security official of the President had to beg off from a chat with The STAR last Tuesday night at the monastery upon seeing several politicians, clasping their folder of papers as they waited for their turn.

"I have to do some blocking force here," the security official quipped.

However, no amount of blocking prevented the visitors from approaching the President. They were seen handing Mrs. Arroyo their folders and envelopes amid handshakes and small talk.

The young sub-Cabinet official, however, reassured that the President is no longer politically indebted as she had been after succeeding President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted by a "people power" uprising in Jan. 2001 backed by the military, police, civil society and personalities in politics, including those who defected from the Estrada camp.

"With her full mandate from the people, she (Mrs. Arroyo) now appoints people whom she really believes would help her achieve her goals for the country (and) to reduce poverty within this decade," the same official said.

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