Appointed was radio broadcaster Mario Garcia as director of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr. insisted that the President’s latest government appointments were not “midnight appointments.”
By GENALYN D. KABILING and EDD K. USMAN - mb.com.ph
New Palace appointments were announced Thursday for the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and the new National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza administered the oath of office of five of the nine officials of the new NCMF, led by Secretary Bai Omeira Dimakuta Dianalan Lucman as its head.
The NCMF, which replaces the functions of the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA) has nine commissioners to be appointed from the 13 Moro tribes and its head bears a full Cabinet rank.
With less than two months in the term of the Arroyo administration, the President replaced Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Arturo C. Lomibao after one year in service and designated him as undersecretary of the DoTC.
Named to replace Lomibao, a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), was Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Alberto H. Suansing.
Suansing returns to his old post as assistant secretary of the LTO, which he previously held in 2008, according to Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza.
A former representative to the Road Board and special assistant on land transport at the DoTC, Suansing served as LTFRB head for the past year.
Mendoza, former secretary of the DoTC, however did not say who will assume the vacant post at the LTFRB.
Meanwhile, Lucman told the Manila Bulletin their oath-taking was completed shortly before 4 p.m.
She thanked President Arroyo for making her the first Muslim woman to head a national government office for Muslims.
With her were Commissioners Alladin I. Ampatuan (Maguindanao), Solaiman C. Mutia (Lanao del Norte), Hatimil E. Hassan (Basilan), and Raida B. Maglangit (women sector), former mayor of Kapatagan, Lanao del Sur.
Four others appointed by the President as commissioners were Mufti Jaafar (Taw-Tawi), Prof. Moner M. Bajunaid (Maguindanao), Atty. Edilwasif T. Baddiri (Sulu, youth sector), and Aleem Sharief Julasiri Abirin (Sulu, ulama sector). They will take their oath on Monday.
Republic Act No. 9997 signed by President Arroyo last February 18 created the NCMF and abolished the 23-year-old OMA.
Datu Ali B. Sangki, OMA executive director, other officials and employees will be running the operations of the NCMF on hold-over capacity as provided for by R.A. No. 9997.
Earlier, the President also appointed retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino as her new chief legal counsel, replacing Natividad Dizon.
Dizon, who served less than three weeks as Presidential Chief Legal Counsel, was moved to head the Board of Pardon and Parole.
Dizon took her oath as the President’s legal counsel last March 8 after Raul Gonzalez resigned to run for mayor in Iloilo City.
Mrs. Arroyo also designated retired Justice Agustin Dizon as new Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, the post vacated by Natividad Dizon.
Also appointed was radio broadcaster Mario Garcia as director of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr. insisted that the President’s latest government appointments were not “midnight appointments.”
Icban, in a phone interview, said the President designated the new officials before the constitutional ban on government appointments takes place. The prohibition against appointment or hiring new government personnel in the executive branch starts on March 26, Friday, according to Icban.
He added the President believes the new officials are competent and trustworthy enough to assume the government positions.
Following his retirement from the police, Lomibao, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1972, was appointed head of the National Counter Terrorism Action group and then led the National Irrigation Administration.
A native of Pangasinan, Lomibao went to college at the University of the Philippines before he entered the Philippine Military Academy in 1968. He has a master's degree in public administration and a doctorate in development administration.