OPPOSITION  'SHADOW  CABINET'  TO  KEEP  AN  EYE  ON  GMA  APPOINTEES

MANILA
, AUGUST 16, 2007 (STAR) By Jess Diaz - Opposition congressmen will soon set up a “Shadow Cabinet” that will watch over President Arroyo’s Cabinet officials.

Deputy Minority Leader Roilo Golez said members of the opposition’s Cabinet would “focus on departments and concerns that we feel should and will dominate the national agenda in the next three years.”

“These include defense and security, budget, finance, energy, environment, health, justice, human rights, public order, trade, education, science, local governance, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and information and communication technology,” he said.

Golez said the Shadow Cabinet “will perform oversight activities as well as serve as critical but constructive partners in the crafting of priority measures.”

He added that the minority would name the members of its Cabinet in the next few weeks.

Reached for comment, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the majority welcomes the minority’s initiative.

“This should make us work harder. It should result in closer cooperation between the majority and minority in the formulation of important pieces of legislation,” he said.

He said that for members of the “real” Cabinet, the minority’s oversight effort should “put them on their toes always.”

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the opposition’s Cabinet officials would have to be experts in their fields of assignment.

For instance, he said a minority member assigned to budget issues would have to familiarize himself or herself with the details of the national budget.

He or she will carry the ball for the opposition when the spending measure is taken up in committee and in plenary, he said.

He added that most likely, he would take care of justice, Golez would be assigned defense and security, while Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III would be the Shadow Cabinet member for agriculture.

Golez was formerly President Arroyo’s national security adviser, while Escudero was former agriculture secretary.

This is the first time in the post-martial law Congress that the minority is forming its own oversight Cabinet, which is usually a feature of the parliamentary system.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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