JUNE 10, 2009 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - Presidential aspirant Bayani Fernando would have to toe the line and respect the decision of the ruling coalition in the selection of the standard-bearer for the 2010 elections.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Fernando, being a ranking official of the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, should understand the selection process and abide by the party decision on the choice of the presidential candidate of the administration.

“You have to consider that we are in a democratic society and as a member of the newly merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, Secretary Fernando has all the right to advocate his position in terms of selecting our presidential candidate,” Bello said.

Bello noted the statements made by Fernando that he would block the selection of Vice President Noli de Castro and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro as possible administration standard-bearers.

Fernando, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), is aggressively pushing the administration to choose him as the standard-bearer, being a ranking party member and vice president for the National Capital Region of Lakas-CMD.

Fernando lamented the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party was apparently formed to accommodate De Castro and Teodoro who are not party members of either Lakas or Kampi.

“His (Fernando’s) decision has to be subjected to the decision of the party so he is free to do what he thinks is right under his plan, but then in the final analysis it would be the party which will decide,” Bello said.

“Being a member of the party, he knows he has to subordinate himself to the general interest of the party,” he said.

He said Fernando was correct in asserting that an original party member should be selected as standard-bearer but there are other critical factors that should be considered.

“But in the final analysis, the choice of presidential candidate will depend on several factors like qualification, winnability, and the support of party members,” Bello said.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, for his part, said Fernando’s tirades make him unfit to be the party’s presidential candidate.

Zubiri said the MMDA chairman “is not fit to be president because he does not have the heart for the poor.”

He said Fernando should not be acting like a dictator in pushing for the party to select him. – With Aurea Calica

Palace: GMA to reappoint bypassed Cabinet members By Marvin Sy Updated June 10, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang officials confirmed yesterday that President Arroyo would reappoint the Cabinet members who were bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.

Secretary to the Cabinet Silvestre Bello III said that the reappointment papers for Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto and Civil Service Commission chairman Ricardo Saludo should be expected from the President anytime soon.

Bello said the officials who were bypassed by the CA continue to have the trust and confidence of the President.

Reyes in particular has been bypassed several times in the past and for different positions in the Cabinet.

“I don’t think the President has any intention of letting Secretary Reyes go from the Department of Energy,” Bello said.

“The fact that he has been reappointed as Secretary of Energy is a manifestation of the trust and confidence in the integrity, competence and work of Secretary Reyes,” he added.

Bello said that the Palace respects the independence of the Commission on Appointments as a constitutional body.

However, he emphasized that the President has the prerogative and power to appoint whoever she wants in her Cabinet.

Reyes was heavily criticized as energy secretary because of his lack of experience in this field.

The same was true when he was environment secretary, which he also served without the blessings of the CA.

In his current portfolio, Reyes was criticized for the fluctuating prices of oil in the country and the lack of supply of liquefied petroleum gas at one point.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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