Lawmaker assails recycling
A militant lawmaker on Wednesday assailed the “recycling” of former government officials who resigned owing to the accusation of irregularities.
Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao made the statement following the appointment of former Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to a board position in the Social Security System.
In related developments, police officials involved in the killing of teenager Kian Delos Santos in Caloocan City were also promoted to higher posts.
“It is becoming a policy of the Duterte administration to remove officials who were involved in anomalies, so as to contain public outcry and reappoint them to another, when the issue cools off, this is a clear case of cronyism, like these officials are indispensable, though their integrity fails them to be worth in public governance,” Casilao said.
Aside from Aguirre, Casilao said other axed government officials recycled by the Duterte administration were:
• Jose Gabriel La Viña, Duterte’s social media manager during the presidential campaign, appointed as commissioner of SSS in November 2016, and sacked in June 2017, reappointed as tourism undersecretary on April 24, and after the new Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat demanded the resignation of all department executive officials, he was reappointed as agriculture undersecretary this June 6;
• Melissa Avanceña Aradanas, cousin of Duterte’s long-time partner, Honeylet Avanceña, appointed as commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, dismissed on December 2017 due to excessive travels abroad and being part of the body’s failure to meet as a collegial body, was reappointed as Deputy Secretary General of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council on March 7.
• Similar to Aradanas, commissioners Joan Lagunda, was reappointed as environment assistant secretary last April, while Manuel Serra, was reappointed as a member of the Philippine Coconut Authority governing board;
• Celestina Dela Serna, sacked as PhilHealth interim head on June 1 but stayed as member of the board, due to excessive expenditures such as staying at a hotel worth P3,000 per night, amid the office’s multi-billion deficit;
• Nicanor Faeldon, former customs chief who resigned amid the P6.4 billion shabu smuggling, was reappointed as deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense in December 2017;
• his co-involved Vincent Maronilla, Milo Maestrecampo, Gerardo Gambala, Teddy Raval, Ariel Nepomuceno were also reappointed to their respective posts.
• Police officials Roberto Fajardo and Chito Bersaluna, who were relieved of their posts due to the brutal killing of Kian Delos Santos in Caloocan City, were promoted as head of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group, and Bulacan Provincial Police Chief, respectively.
• Military officials Athelo Ybañez and Teotimo Borja, Jr.,, though being investigated by the Ombudsman over misuse of multi-million peso public funds, were promoted to being Rear Admiral, and Commodore, respectively.
“While yet to be held answerable for their offenses, they are treated by Duterte as sacred cows, thus, his anti-corruption rants look and sound like gibberish and this raises the question on his criterion on appointing officials, as it is clear as not meritocracy, but leaning towards kleptocracy,” Casilao said.
Casilao said the recycling of former officials of the Duterte administration proved “It protects and promotes vested interests, callous of public welfare, transparency, and accountability in governance.”