Dirty politics has claimed another victim.
A close family friend of the President and an ever-loyal Aquino loyalist, PCSO Chairperson Margarita P. Juico, handed her irrevocable letter of resignation yesterday to Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr. in Malacañang. It takes effect immediately, a Manila Times source in the Palace said.
Ochoa suggested that her resignation be effective at the end of the month, but Juico would not budge. She was apparently tired of being the subject of intrigues and dirty politics within the Palace. She could not wait to leave her post.
The Executive Secretary said the President had promised the PCSO chairmanship to former Imus Mayor and Congressman Ireneo (Ayong) Maliksi sometime ago. Rumors of Maliksi taking over Juico’s post started to circulate when the former mayor and congressman personally announced during his birthday celebration in Imus some months ago that he was taking over the PCSO.
But even before that, rumors have been circulating in and out of Malacañang that a group close to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas has been coveting Juico’s post. In one instance, President BS Aquino 3rd admonished Juico for not cooperating with Roxas.
The Secretary had obviously complained to the President that Juico was withholding the documents on Bingo Milyonaryo and other games from him.
According to Juico, she could not give Roxas the requested documents because it was not Roxas who had asked for them but someone who claimed he was representing the DILG Secretary. And when Juico tried to call Roxas on his mobile to verify the request, the Secretary wouldn’t answer her calls.
She was summoned to the Palace and was given a dressing down by the President about this. According to a reliable source, the President said, “Roxas is my alter ego, you disrespect him, you disrespect me.” No amount of explanation would soothe Aquino’s anger. Obviously he had been told a different story.
As early as then, Juico had wanted to resign from her post.
In July 2010 or just a few weeks after Aquino’s inauguration as President, he offered the PCSO Chairmanship to Juico. Juico initially declined the offer and said that she would be happy with just being a member of the Board. The President insisted and said, “It’s your time, Margie.”
Juico who served as Appointments Secretary for the late President Cory Aquino had continued to work for the Aquino family even long after the President’s term ended in 1992. Juico stood by Cory throughout all her remaining years on earth as her friend, confidant and co-worker. There were reports that Cory on her deathbed had asked Juico to “take care of Noynoy.”
Juico’s resignation came as a shock even to the members of the President’s family.
Juico is among the first, if not the very first, direct casualty of the politics of convenience. The President sacrificed her to make way for a member of the Liberal Party who is a political nemesis of the Revilla clan in Cavite.
It is clear that the President is using the two powerful clans of Maliksi and Remulla against the Revillas. The two families have banded together to obliterate the Revillas in Cavite politics. And that makes the Maliksis and Remullas valuable allies of the President. The PCSO chairmanship is a reward for Maliksi for joining the President in his fight against Sen. Bong Revilla.
All these developments point to the 2016 presidential elections. With the Revillas out of the political equation in Cavite, the Liberal Party’s presumptive standard-bearer, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, will have an easier time winning in Cavite Province.
Cavite has the most number of voters among all the Philippine provinces. It has 7 congressional districts.
With Marge Juico’s resignation will soon come another.
Joseph P. Juico, former Quezon City Councilor who now works in the office of the Executive Secretary, will likely follow suit. He is expected to resign as well over the maltreatment his mother had received from no less than the President and his allies, more particularly Mar Roxas and the other Liberal Party heavyweights.
Another factor that must have contributed to the President’s displeasure with Juico is that her spouse, Philip, who is currently the President of Wack Wack Golf and Country Club, is suspected of not having used his position to keep Roxas from being suspended for figuring in an ugly incident. Roxas abused Club employees, cursing them because they were insisting that he obey the rules and pay green fees for his guests at the exclusive club. The club punished Roxas with a two-month suspension of membership privileges.
During her term at the PCSO, Marge Juico brought it closer to the people. She opened satellite clinics in the Lung Center of the Philippines and in the provinces. She undertook several reform programs that saved the Charity organization millions of pesos.
One of these reforms was the cancellation of the paper supply contract for the Lotto that was grossly disadvantageous to the government.