CHANGES in President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Cabinet can be expected next month as a number of officials are filing their certificates of candidacy for next year’s elections.
No less than Aquino himself announced on Monday that there will be changes in his team, naming at least three officials who will fill up the administration party slate in the May polls.
“Magkakaroon ng pagpapalit dahil sa Oktubre meron tayong mga kasamahan na tatakbo.
Nandiyan na si Mar Roxas, nandiyan si Francis Tolentino, nandiyan si Joel Villanueva [There will be a shake-up because in October we have colleagues who will announce their bids for the 2016 polls. There is Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, there is Francis Tolentino, there is Joel Villanueva],” the President said.
Roxas, Interior and Local Government Secretary will be the Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate, while Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA and Villanueva, director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or Tesda , are reportedly vying for the 12 Senate seats up for grabs in 2016.
Besides the three, Aquino said a number of government officials even outside the Cabinet are seeking elective posts next year.
“There are other officials who are expected to resign to pursue their plans to run in the 2016 elections,” the President added in Filipino.
But Aquino clarified that the changes will not be a “revamp” since none of those who will resign are going not because they perform poorly.
“It’s probably wrong to call it a revamp but we really have to designate people who have no political plans to head various agencies,” the President said.
Villanueva was reported to be having a “falling out” with some LP stalwarts identified with the camp of Roxas.
It was not immediately known if the Tesda chief would run under the banner of the administration coalition or with another party such as the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
Villanueva has claimed that majority of NPC members are supportive of his senatorial bid.
In the same interview on Monday, Aquino belied reports that some LP members are bolting the party once Sen. Grace Poe decides to run against Roxas.
“Walang nagpahiwatig, walang nagparamdam, walang nagpadala ng anonymous letter [Nobody’s giving hints, no one’s sending feelers or sending anonymous letters],” the President said.
Roxas, meanwhile, revealed to reporters that three Cabinet secretaries have been short-listed for the LP’s senatorial slate.
The party’s standard-bearer identified the three as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, MMDA’s Tolentino and Health Secretary Janette Garin.
“Secretary Leila, Secretary Francis and Secretary Janet are all very qualified. They have shown their dedication and faith in daang matuwid [straight path]. “Certainly, they would be among those in consideration,” Roxas said as he referred to the Aquino administration’s good governance mantra.