Edgar Aglipay

LTO's Lomibao kicked up to DND

LTO’s Lomibao kicked up to DND
By Paolo Romero and Alexis Romero
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo has appointed former Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Arturo Lomibao as defense undersecretary for legislative affairs.

It was not clear when Mrs. Arroyo made the appointment. There were suspicions that it was done after March 10 or the last day she was allowed under the law to make appointments before the May elections.

Officials, however, insisted Lomibao’s appointment was signed in the first week of March.

With Lomibao now at the Department of National Defense, former Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Alberto Suansing reassumed yesterday the top LTO post.

Movements in the LTO and other agencies were only made known to the public towards the end of last month.

Sources said Lomibao already attended a meeting of top defense officials last Monday at Camp Aguinaldo.

This was confirmed by Defense Undersecretary for Finance and Armed Forces Modernization Affairs Antonio Romero II.

“He (Lomibao) was there during our meeting. He was introduced to us by the secretary,” he told The STAR.

Romero said Lomibao was also given an orientation about his responsibilities as defense undersecretary. He said the appointment of the former PNP chief was a welcome development for the agency.

“It’s good that he was appointed. We needed to fill up some positions in the department,” Romero said in Filipino.

He described Lomibao as “low profile” and “diligent.”

Former DND undersecretary Alberto Valenzuela Jr., who used to handle legal affairs and special concerns, quit his post last month.

Sources said Lomibao came after Valenzuela’s resignation but was not really his successor since the former PNP chief would handle a different portfolio. Romero said there are officials who are already handling DND’s legal concerns.

Romero said former DND undersecretary Antonio Santos Jr., who used to handle defense affairs, had also left the department after reaching the retirement age of 65. Romero said he is now handling defense affairs in a concurrent capacity.

On the other hand, the term of office of former DND undersecretary for internal affairs Ariston de los Reyes lapsed last month, according to Malacañang.

There are reports that former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Victor Ibrado has been offered De los Reyes’ position.

A ranking DND source confirmed this but Ibrado, who is out of the country, has yet to accept the offer. Ibrado retired from military service last March 10.

A native of Pangasinan, Lomibao is a member of Philippine Military Academy class 1972. He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in development administration. Lomibao was named PNP chief in 2005, replacing Edgar Aglipay.

His wife Jacky Tiu-Lomibao, a former kidnap victim, is making a bid for a seat in Congress as the third nominee of party-list group Abono, representing farmers.

Mrs. Arroyo also designated Press Undersecretary Rogelio Peyuan as new deputy presidential spokesman.

With Peyuan’s appointment, the President now has four spokespersons led by Secretary Ricardo Saludo, who is also concurrently secretary-general of the private-public reconstruction commission.

The two other deputy spokespersons are Gary Olivar and Charito Planas, who is also Nayong Pilipino executive director.

Peyuan was originally appointed to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) last month but was removed two days later because of alleged lobbying by his predecessor Augusto Syjuco.

Peyuan at the time accused Syjuco of having a hand in his removal reportedly because of his refusal to agree to an illegal directive on the use of over P700 million in TESDA funds. – With Rainier Allan Ronda