Old faces are new execs filling in Palace gaps
By Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Cabinet shuffle is still in full swing, with Deputy Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo now the official spokesperson of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, himself newly appointed, Tuesday made the announcement, adding that the President had also named Transportation Undersecretary Annelie Lontoc to replace him as transportation chief.
Mendoza said Ms Arroyo had likewise named Angelo Verdan as the new chair of the Maritime Industry Authority vice Elena Bautista, the new director general of the Presidential Management Staff.
Saludo, the concurrent chair of the Reconstruction Commission, had previously served as Cabinet secretary and deputy spokesperson for Ms Arroyo.
In 2008, Saludo was appointed chair of the Civil Service Commission. But the Commission on Appointments refused to confirm him on grounds that he was not a lawyer.
Mendoza replaced as executive secretary Eduardo Ermita, who is running for representative in his home province of Batangas.
Asked about his priorities as the “Little President,” Mendoza said he would oversee “the consolidation and integration of the gains of this administration toward a strong Republic of the Philippines.”
He said the Palace was also looking at “providing a very orderly transition from this administration to the next.”
The latest appointments are part of what could be the President’s final major Cabinet shakeup in her last four months in office.
The shuffle was triggered by a recent Supreme Court order that deemed Cabinet officials seeking local positions in May as resigned.
Dureza heads Minda
Presidential Assistant Jesus Dureza was named head of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), which Ms Arroyo created through Republic Act No. 9996 on Feb. 17.
Dureza said in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Cotabato City that he would lead Minda, which was created to consolidate all the development efforts for Mindanao during the next six years.
It will replace the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco).
“It is important to address the need for a coordinated and integrated approach in the formulation and implementation of various Mindanao-wide inter-regional development plans, programs and projects,” Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, who chaired Medco, said during the signing of RA 9996.
Leyretana said Minda would consolidate peace efforts and the development of the agribusiness sector in Mindanao.
Minda will put up its main office in Maramag, Bukidnon, but management offices will also be established in various parts of Mindanao.
Lawyer Melvin Matibag took over as general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Tuesday. He took his oath of office in Malacañang on Monday.
Matibag succeeds Alfonso Cusi, whom Ms Arroyo named the new director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Both the MIAA and CAAP are attached agencies of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
Matibag was formerly Cusi’s head executive assistant and the concurrent manager of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.
The MIAA operates the three NAIA terminals. With reports from Jeoffrey Maitem and Dennis Santos, Inquirer Mindanao; and Jerome Aning in Manila