NEWS FEATURE:  DINKY  WILLING  TO BE  NOLI'S  PESO-A-YEAR ADVISER

MANILA, 
July 9, 2004  (STAR) By Sheila Crisostomo  -  After crying betrayal, Secretary Corazon Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is now singing a different tune.

For P1 a year, Soliman has offered to become a consultant of Vice President Noli de Castro when he takes over the DSWD in November.

Soliman said she made her offer known recently to lawyer Jessie Andres, De Castroís chief of staff.

"If he needs my help, I would be willing to help. Actually, I donít want to be paid. I just want to see that the programs of the DSWD are being improved and continued," she said in a telephone interview.

Soliman resigned last Tuesday to enable President Arroyo to fulfill her "political commitment" to De Castro that he be appointed to the position of his choice.

The DSWD chief admitted that she felt "betrayed" that her post was being given away as payment for a political debt.

Mrs. Arroyo, in trying to appease Soliman in their one-on-one talk last Monday, claimed that she offered De Castro the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) portfolio but he expressed "strong preference" for DSWD.

According to Soliman, De Castro would be joining her when she inaugurates the core shelters for victims of armed conflict in Sulu and Basilan next week.

"We already met before and discussed the steps that will be taken during the transition period and the timeline of the programs of the DSWD. This (trip) is only part of the transition process," she noted.

Soliman also appealed to the media and critics of the Arroyo administration to stop making it appear that there is bad blood between her and De Castro.

"Walang hidwaan sa pagitan namin ni Vice President De Castro. I want to assure everybody that itís not the spin that itís now being given," she added.

Soliman, who spent 30 years in civil society, said that she does not regret having worked in government.

"I donít have any regrets. Iím actually humbled by the experience. I got to work with intelligent and very dedicated persons. I have great respect for civil service," she added.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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