[PHOTO AT LEFT - Main photo shows president-elect Benigno Aquino III and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo during a recent victory party. Inset photo shows Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral arriving at the Aquino residence on Times street yesterday. Boy Santos]

MANILA , JUNE 28, 2010 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo announced yesterday that president-elect Benigno Aquino III would retain him in the Cabinet.

Romulo had a brief meeting with Aquino at his Times Street residence in Quezon City at around 1 p.m.

Aquino also met yesterday at his home with Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, fueling speculation that she might also be retained. But Cabral said she would leave any announcement to Aquino, who told The STAR he would announce his Cabinet lineup tomorrow.

Aquino also met separately yesterday with former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., former ambassador to the United States Alberto del Rosario and National Kidney and Transplant Institute executive director Enrique Ona.

Davide did not give a statement while Del Rosario said he only made a courtesy call.

Ona said he was not asked to join the Cabinet and that he and Aquino only talked about health issues.

Fashion designer and couturier Paul Cabral also arrived with a barong Tagalog, black trousers and a blue polo shirt. He did not say whether the clothes were for the inauguration of Aquino on Wednesday.

Romulo said Aquino asked him to remain at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“I have accepted and I am honored by his trust,” Romulo said. “No term limit was discussed.”

He said that he and the Aquinos have been long-time friends and that his being an appointee of President Arroyo was not an issue in the decision to retain him.

Romulo said he is willing to serve Aquino whose program of governance is good.

DFA spokesman Eduardo Malaya said that the DFA rank and file was united in rejoicing over the reappointment of Romulo to head the department under an Aquino presidency.

“The DFA family welcomes the reappointment of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo by president-elect Benigno C. Aquino III. The DFA rank and file and countless officers have earlier called for the retention of Secretary Romulo at the department’s helm given his significant achievements in advancing the Philippine national interests in the international community and in uplifting the welfare of DFA personnel,” Malaya said in a statement sent to the media in a text message.

“In the next six years of the Aquino administration, the DFA is committed to redoubling its efforts in serving the nation and the Filipino people,” Malaya said.

There were reports that Romulo would only be accommodated for a year and that a new secretary would be appointed later.

Some groups in the DFA were reportedly asking for Aquino’s running mate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II to be DFA secretary but Roxas was not interested in the position.

Aquino has to wait for a year before appointing Roxas because of a one-year ban on the appointment of losing candidates.

“There is no period of course. You know all of us serve at the pleasure of the president,’’ Romulo said.

Aquino said earlier he was considering several names for the DFA and Romulo was still among them.

He cited the fact that Romulo was one of the first Cabinet members of Mrs. Arroyo who expressed support for him.

Romulo was budget minister during the term of Aquino’s mother, former President Corazon Aquino before he ran and won a seat in the Senate in 1987.

Aquino said he would announce his other Cabinet members on Tuesday.

He was reportedly considering former Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Jose Anselmo Cadiz or ex-Labor secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to head the Department of Labor and Employment.

In answer to criticisms against Cadiz, lawyer Jimmy Miralles, president of the Alliance of Genuine Labor Organizations, said they would leave it to the good judgment of Aquino to choose the next DOLE chief.

“It is wrong to conclude that just because one is a management lawyer then he will not be a good labor secretary,” Miralles said.

Jose Umali, president of the National Union of Bank Employees, said that an appointment of a management lawyer as labor secretary would be “unacceptable and an insult to workers.”

Umali earlier urged Aquino not to name lawyers who had represented corporations to the post of labor secretary due to their ties with the management of big companies.

Miralles said the late labor secretary Augusto Sanchez was a management lawyer who turned out to be a pro-labor secretary.

Acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman was a former lawyer of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and was not therefore, a management lawyer, Miralles said. – With Rainier Allan Ronda

Kris, James break up again By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) Updated June 28, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – In yesterday’s edition of “The Buzz” where she made her farewell appearance, Kris Aquino confirmed what Funfare reported as a scoop last Wednesday, that she left home with sons Joshua and Baby James after yet another quarrel with husband James Yap.

This time, said Kris, the breakup is final.

“Matagal naming sinubukan,” said Kris. “James and I really tried to make this work. On my part, with finality I can say ako ay sumuko na.”

It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, added Kris.

“Kung ano man ang dahilan why this marriage (didn’t work), on my part, I’m saying it’s over. The only person I will owe an explanation to, and the only person who can demand from me, ‘Bakit kayo naghiwalay?’, is my son,” obviously referring to Baby James.

Kris was supposed to be in Cebu with her soulmate Boy Abunda Tuesday last week to, as she promised during the campaign for her Kuya Noynoy, distribute school supplies in some places (starting in Tarlac) but she didn’t show up because she and James fought the night before.

Unlike in their previous other spats, this time no “third party” is reportedly involved although there’s a rumor that James has a girlfriend from Assumption.

Contacted by The STAR, James denied the rumor.

“I have always been faithful,” he said. “When I married Kris, I was ready to settle down to a quiet family life. Handa na ako sa married life.”

People close to the couple claimed that what, so to speak, broke the camel’s back were the “basic differences” between Kris and James who come from opposite socio-economic backgrounds.

“They always clash because of Kris’ tendency to control James,” said somebody privy to the couple’s life. “Their differences are irreconcilable. Every time they fought, Kris would threaten to separate from James, saying, ‘Ayoko na talaga; sawa na ako. Hiwalay na tayo!’ This time around, James retaliated by saying, ‘Hiwalay kung hiwalay!’ I think they have reached a point of no return, no reconciliation.”

While Kris and the couple’s sons are staying at a five-star hotel in Makati City, James has remained at the Makati home they bought late last year using the money they got from selling their house in Valle Verde, Quezon City.

The “final” breakup happened only a few days before president-elect Noynoy Aquino is to take his oath of office on Wednesday as the 15th President of the Republic.

Asked if he will attend the ceremonies even if he and Kris are at odds, James said yes, “I will.”

Yesterday’s The Buzz marked Kris’ last appearance on the talk show she co-hosted with Boy Abunda. Last Thursday, June 24, she also bade goodbye to viewers of SNN (Showbiz News Ngayon), also on ABS-CBN with Boy as co-host. Kris decided to quit the two shows to, she said, “avoid giving Noy additional stress,” vulnerable as Kris was to intrigues and tsismis on those shows. But she will soon be back as host of a game show which will reportedly replace Wowowee (hosted by Willie Revillame who is on a three-month “vacation” until September).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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