Palace stays silent on changes to Cabinet

By , on January 1, 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the Joint Session of the 16th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday (July 28, 2014). The SONA delivered by the President is a yearly tradition wherein the Chief Executive reports on the status of the country, unveils the government’s agenda for the coming year, and may also propose to Congress certain legislative measures. (Photo by Ryan Lim / Malacanang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno S. Aquino III  (Photo by Ryan Lim / Malacanang Photo Bureau)

MANILA – Malacañang has opted to keep tight-lipped on the possibility of a revamp in the Cabinet in 2015. The changes may take place as a result of the resignation of Health Secretary Enrique Ona, as well as the upcoming elections.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said yesterday that there is currently “no information on changes in the Cabinet.”

With regard to President Aquino’s choice of a replacement for Ona – whose post is temporarily being filled by Health Undersecretary Janette Garin – presidential spokesman

Edwin Lacierda had earlier said: “We’ll know by next year. Right now we have no information yet. By next year, hopefully we’ll have an announcement coming forth from the Palace.”

Among those leaving the Cabinet, as well, is Panfilo Lacson, the presidential assistant for recovery and reconstruction. Lacson will be making his exit as he has already fulfilled the task of paving the way for rehabilitation efforts in places devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan.)

Other Cabinet members will also likely be stepping down should they choose to run for office in the 2106 elections.

For instance, the Cabinet’s housing chief and adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, Vice President Jejomar Binay, will have to resign from his post should he pursue his plans to run for the nation’s highest seat of government.

Should Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II choose to run, as well, he will likewise have to leave the Cabinet.

According to Lacierda, the administration is focusing on many other matters of import, as Aquino enters his fifth and final year of presidency.

Lacierda added that top of the list by way of institutionalizing reforms are the enactment of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and increased government spending.

“Number one, our reform measures are ongoing. But our priority right now is the BBL. We need to pass the BBL so that we will be able to capacitate the leaders of the new juridical entity. Hopefully, that will be passed by first quarter, there will be a plebiscite and then during that time after the plebiscite there will be capacity building so that… by 2016, the (new) Bangsamoro Juridical Entity will be held simultaneously or be synchronized with the next elections,” he said.