MANILA, NOVEMBER 6, 2010 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - President Aquino bared yesterday that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje would be replaced soon, both having been appointed in acting capacity.

In an interview on ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol,” the President said he might transfer Robredo to another agency while Paje would be replaced by an ally whose expertise is environment.

The President was apparently referring to defeated Liberal Party senatorial candidate Neric Acosta, also a former Bukidnon representative.

There is a one-year appointment ban on candidates who ran and lost in the recent elections. Mr. Aquino said only Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was appointed in a permanent capacity.

“With the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), maybe the appointment will be changed soon, but the process is still ongoing. With the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), maybe next year. There is someone within the party who is an advocate of ecology, and we will re-evaluate that. So far I have no problem with Paje, but we have a long-standing commitment that we will have to identify an expert,” Aquino said.

“I still do not have clear plans for Robredo. What is being done now is okay but we have programs that we want to fast-track on informal settlers, which is really his expertise. So we may set up a new group to really help the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor which will be more focused,” the President said.?

The President did not submit the names of the three to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation because they were appointed in acting capacity.

The President said he and Robredo have differences in style and that he would have to see whether the two of them could work effectively together. There are also reports that Robredo and Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, who is known to be close to Mr. Aquino, are not on good terms.

No Cabinet revamp - Noy By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated November 06, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (1)

MANILA, Philippines - There would be no Cabinet revamp for now even as Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje would remain in an acting capacity, President Aquino bared yesterday.

The President told reporters that his Cabinet members have just received a positive rating compared to a negative one the last time a survey on their performance was conducted.

“So, why should we have a Cabinet revamp at this time when the people are happy with their performance?” he said.

Mr. Aquino added that he was satisfied with the performance of most of his Cabinet secretaries.

He cited Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson as those “performing better than expected.”

As to the other Cabinet members, the President said he would like to call their attention for them to improve their performance.

“But for the most part, I am very happy that they have been assisting me in addressing all these problems in the country,” he added.

The President also said that Robredo and Paje would remain as acting secretaries while Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz had been appointed as permanent secretary.

The President said even Robredo would stay in his present position as acting secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) while he was reviewing whether or not there was an urgent need for the interior secretary to become head of a coordinating agency to address the problem of informal settlers.

The President said they were studying if they would need a new mechanism to deal with the problem and if Robredo could be tapped to implement them.

“But at present - and let me say repeatedly - there are no plans to transfer him at this time because we are still looking if the agencies currently tasked to address the problem (of informal settlers) are enough or we would need someone with expertise,” Mr. Aquino said.

The Chief Executive clarified that he mentioned the possibility of tapping Robredo for another job because he had appointed him DILG secretary in an acting capacity from the beginning.

He said this was the reason why he did not submit the names of Robredo and Paje to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation because it would be unfair for them to go through the process when they were not even appointed in a permanent capacity.

Mr. Aquino said his administration was in existence for only four months and the issue on informal settlers, plus health concerns, education opportunities and others that would go with it must be addressed.

“Should there be a czar appointed to address that problem, that’s two million Filipinos involved. Now, there might be a need for massive intervention” and so Robredo might have to be tapped to do the job, Mr. Aquino added.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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