• ‘Minor’ Cabinet revamp in the works

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd will initiate a minor revamp in his Cabinet next week to accommodate his graduating allies in Congress.

    Malacañang sources said the President may announce on Monday the new posts for outgoing Senators Francis Pangilinan and Panfilo Lacson, as well outgoing House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada 3rd and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin.

    The four outgoing lawmakers are set to end their terms on June 30. The Constitution allows senators only two consecutive six-year terms, while representatives can serve for not more than three consecutive terms.

    Pangilinan confirmed earlier that President Aquino told him he will get a post in the agriculture sector, but he will not take over the post of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

    A Palace source said that Pangilinan is groomed to be the Presidential Adviser on Agricultural Modernization.

    Lacson, on one hand, will be heading Malacañang’s anti-corruption campaign, which became the mantra of the Aquino administration. He will be given the task of curbing, if not eliminating corruption, as the country’s anti-corruption czar.

    Pangilinan is a member of Mr. Aquino’s Liberal Party. He has been a senator since 2001 and was former majority floor leader of the Senate.

    Lacson, who has been a senator since 2001, is a known ally of the President. He was former head of the Philippine National Police and an anti-crime task force under former president Joseph Estrada.

    The Aquino allies are also pushing for the appointment of Tañada to be the new head of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), replacing its chair Joel Villanueva, a Palace source said.

    The source said that the President has offered Villanueva a choice of two agencies, the
    Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

    The DENR is headed by Secretary Ramon Paje, who plans to retire. But his critics said that the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Aquino should be enough to make Paje quit his job.

    In his SONA, Aquino commended Butuan City Mayor Jun Amante for his political will to stop illegal logging in the locality while Paje’s name was never mentioned by the President.

    Meanwhile, Garin, who was a principal mover of the Reproductive Health Care and Cheaper Medicines laws, will get a post in the health sector.

    Mr. Aquino earlier has asked Garin to join the executive branch once her term ends in June. “I’d like to ask permission from you to allow me to borrow Congresswoman Garin for the next three years and let her join us in the executive department.”

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