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Arroyo appoints more 2007 poll losers to gov’t posts

August 29, 2008 6:09pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has three more losers in the 2007 election to government positions.

On Friday morning, the President swore in defeated San Fernando (Pampanga) mayoral bet Reynaldo Aquino as acting president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and defeated Manila vice mayoral bet Grepor Belgica as commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced late Thursday the appointments of defeated Pasay City mayor candidate Consuelo Dy as deputy director of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

The three are the latest losers in the 2007 general election to be named to government posts after the one-year ban on appointments expired last June.

Given key posts earlier were President Arroyo’s losing senatorial candidates Ralph Recto, who was named economic planning secretary; Vicente Sotto II as head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA); and Michael Defensor as head of the Presidential Task Force on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 3.

Defensor had resigned after the NAIA 3 opened its terminal to international flights in early August but is lending his expertise, on a private capacity, to the Northrail project.

Former Surigao del Sur congressman Prospero Pichay Jr., who also failed to make it to the Senate’s “Magic 12" despite being the biggest spender among candidates, rejected his appointment as administrator of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) reportedly out of frustration that his name was pulled out from those being considered for the top post at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Pichay was originally touted to be the next OWWA head but Malacañang reportedly recalled his appointment due to vehement objections by overseas Filipino workers.

Other appointees

Ermita also announced the appointment of former Court of Appeals justice Nicolas Lapeña Jr. as acting chairman of the Professional Regulatory Commission and lawyer Villamor Ventura Plan as acting executive director of the Finance Department's One-Stop-Shop Interagency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center.

Plan, a managing partner in the Sorplan Shopper Plaza and legal officer of the Department of Health Center for Health Development for Cagayan Valley, was a member of the board of directors of Government Service Insurance System Mutual Fund Inc. and later as chairman of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council Bids and Awards committee.

Lapeña, who assumed his post Tuesday, began his career at the Central Bank of the Philippines in 1954 but started teaching law at the Philippine Judicial Academy, UP, San Sebastian College, Ateneo de Manila University, and University of Manila 15 years later. He also taught law at the New Era University (NEU), where he became president from 1978 to 1983. He also served president of the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (1973 to 1978) and concurrent chairman of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (2002 to present).

Also sworn in by the President on Friday aside from Aquino and Belgica, were Ma. Victoria Cardona as commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights, William Merdano as acting commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education, and Bengno Ricafort as president and chief executive officer of the Clark Development Corporation.

Cardona, who is a lawyer, would head the CHR's children rights and women's right division while Merdano is the former executive director of CHED prior to his promotion.

Ricafort, who replaced CDC president Liberato P. Laus, was a member of the CDC board in 1992 during the term then president Fidel Ramos. Ricafort, who earned his master's degree in Business Administration major in Economics holder from St. John's University in New York, is married to Higher Education commissioner Nona Ricafort. - GMANews.TV