MANILA, May 5, 2008 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - Following President Arroyo’s announcement last week of a revamp in her official family, anxiety has hit many of her Cabinet officials fearing removal from their posts, officials said yesterday.

A Cabinet official admitted many of his colleagues are having “anxieties over their fate” after Mrs. Arroyo’s announcement of a reshuffle beginning this month.

“It’s only natural that there would be some worries or anxieties. That’s the way it is,” said the official, who also admitted being unsure of his fate.

This developed as Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced Mrs. Arroyo has reappointed some Cabinet officials whose appointments were bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) just before Congress took its Holy Week break in March.

Among those bypassed by the CA were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez.

During the last hearing, the CA also failed to act on the appointment of Commission on Elections Associate Commissioner Moslemen Macarambon, as well as the promotions of some military officials following the protest made by Sen. Jamby Madrigal.

There is no definite schedule yet when the CA would resume hearings to act on the appointments with less than six weeks until Congress takes another break on June 14.

On the other hand, another Cabinet official said those often scolded by the President during meeting for various issues are most likely to be left out.

When asked to comment on the apprehensions by his colleagues, Ermita said: “I don’t know about that.”

“I believe the President’s officials are all professional and hardworking,” he said.

Ermita noted there are many vacancies in key government posts that should be filled up, including those in the Dangerous Drugs Board, the post of the Presidential Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Cabinet.

Outgoing Secretary to the Cabinet Ricardo Saludo is moving to the Civil Service Commission. The last Presidential Chief of Staff was Michael Defensor. Defensor, who currently sits in the board of Petron Corp., is rumored to be returning to the Cabinet.

The two posts however could remain unfilled since they were just created through executive orders.

Also vacant are the post of head of the newly created Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and general manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) as well as the entire membership of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

The six-year term of CHR chairwoman Purificacion Quisumbing and four commissioners is set to expire today.

A Cabinet official, however, noted “this is the time where those interested in some posts would float their names so that they will be talked about.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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