JDV questions ‘midnight promotion’ of Lomibao
By Jose Rodel Clapano
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) senatorial candidate Jose “Joey” de Venecia III yesterday denounced the “midnight promotion” of former Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Arturo Lomibao as defense undersecretary for legislative affairs.
De Venecia said the new appointment was an obvious lateral shift in the wake of Lomibao’s involvement in the radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker scheme that was ordered suspended by the Supreme Court.
“Malacañang should put a stop to its continuing issuance of midnight appointments well beyond the last day allowed by law for an outgoing President to appoint government officials before the May 10 elections,” De Venecia said.
De Venecia, the son of former House speaker Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr., said it was deplorable for Lomibao to be promoted despite his failure to comply with the SC directive to compensate the motorists who paid for the inoperative RFID program.
He said the belated announcement of Lomibao’s new appointment further triggered suspicions that midnight appointments are being backdated to make it appear Mrs. Arroyo made the appointments before the period of the ban.
“(She) staffs key offices with her own men before the next legitimately mandated president takes office,” he said.
De Venecia called on Malacañang to immediately recall the appointment of Lomibao along with the other appointees after the deadline.
“Why Malacañang continues to ignore this ruling should disturb us all. It’s as if Mrs. Arroyo has become a law unto herself,” he said.
Three flag officers are emerging as possible successors of Navy chief Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez who will retire on May 16.
Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said National Capital Region Command chief Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Rear Admiral Victor Martir, and Western Mindanao Naval Forces chief Rear Admiral Alexander Pama are among the candidates for the post.
They are two-star ranked officers.
A Navy rear admiral is equivalent to the Army’s major general.
Two of the three contenders, Angue and Martir, belong to Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ’78 of which President Arroyo is an honorary member. Pama, on the other hand, belongs to Class ’79.
Arevalo said all the contenders are capable of leading the Navy and have adequate experience.
“All of them are competent to lead our Navy. All of them have passed through several levels of command. They have gone through billets, or what we call the shipboard billet and offshore billet, which means experiences in both land and in sea,” Arevalo said.
He said the three have strong qualifications and impeccable military record.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Delfin Bangit said the Board of Generals (BOG) could not convene to discuss Golez’s successor unless it has received the recommendation of the Navy’s Board of Senior Officers.
The BOG is composed of the AFP chief of staff as head, with the vice chief of staff, the deputy chief and the commanders of the four major services.
Arevalo said the Navy is hoping that the next chief would continue the programs initiated by Golez.
“Vice Admiral Golez steadied the course and speed of the Navy’s pursuit of its Sail Plan 2020. The attainment of our vision of becoming a strong and credible Navy that our maritime nation can be proud of by 2020 remains to be every sailor’s and Marine’s dream,” he said.
A member of PMA class ’76, Golez is the remaining major service commander in the AFP who is not from class ’78. The other major service commanders are Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena and Army chief Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu.
Arevalo earlier said Golez had already made farewell visits to naval forces in Cebu and Palawan and had called on his counterparts in Singapore and Thailand.
He said the Navy chief made a farewell call on his troops in Northern Luzon last week. – With Alexis Romero