Big govt revamp looms

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WITH the expected retirement of top officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Commission on Audit (COA) and Civil Service Commission (CSC), Malacañang is working double time to fill up the posts that will be vacated by tapping “qualified” officials from line agencies.

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While Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Thursday stopped short of admitting that there may be a “reshuffle” of sorts in government, he said there is already an ongoing vetting process on who should replace who.

“The vetting process is still ongoing as this involves the appointment of a chairperson of an independent constitutional body. Due diligence is being exercised to ensure that the prospective appointee possesses the necessary qualifications and will meet the people’s expectations in terms of competence and integrity,” Coloma added, alluding to the scheduled departure of Commission on Audit (COA) chief Grace Pulido-Tan.

“Wala akong impormasyon hinggil sa mga nominado sa posisyong ito.

By the way, batid natin hindi lamang ‘yung Comelec.‘Yon ding (COA) at (CSC) ay sumasailalim sa kahalintulad na proseso dahil sa impending completion of the tour of duty of their respective heads [I have no information on who the nominees are for the posts that will be vacated in the Comelec, COA and CSC],” he pointed out.

Besides Tan, those who are expected to retire in a few weeks are Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and two of his commissioners–Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusop.

Coloma did not identify who in the CSC is similarly set to leave office.

Insiders said the retirement of these officials will likely trigger lateral movements or the reassignment of some officials from other agencies.

For one, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares was reportedly being groomed to replace Tan.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, a former election lawyer, was recommended by Brillantes as his possible successor at the poll body.

Tan, de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales are collectively referred to as the “Three Furies” by Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda for their role in the prosecution of those involved in the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Coloma said Tan’s retirement will not affect the government’s anti-corruption campaign.

“The anti-corruption drive of the government is anchored upon the proposition that we need to build stronger public institutions, and stronger public institutions are built upon laws, structures and the commitment of the people belonging to these organizations to pursue what is right, what is just and what is true. It cannot be made to depend only on a single individual, even if that individual would be so crucial because he or she is the leader of that institution,” the official noted.

Coloma said it “requires collective effort from all those that are implementing the mandates of the law in these institutions.”

If Henares is appointed to replace Tan, the position of BIR chief will likely be filled by Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

Sevilla’s replacement would be a toss-up between Deputy Commissioners Agaton Uvero and Jesse Dellosa. Between the two, however, it was said the Palace will likely choose Uvero.

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