OPINION: GMA denies she is going to be foreign secretary

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Dec 15 2016 01:12 AM

Freedom really makes a person glow.

We met former President Gloria Arroyo in a diplomatic reception last week and she looked very much younger and glowing.

We asked her about talks that she is going to be Foreign Affairs secretary to replace Secretary Perfecto Yasay, she emphatically replied, “No, no. That’s not true."

A former Cabinet official said she is more interested to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position that could propel her to a more powerful position if the shift to a federal system, being advocated by President Duterte, pushed through.

If Arroyo is not going to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), will it be Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano once the one-year ban for those who ran and lost in the last election? Immediately after last election, Duterte said he offered Cayetano either Justice or Foreign Affairs.

Yasay was not among those whose appointment was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments last week.

It is not known whether oppositors to Yasay’s appointment as foreign secretary like former Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. would bother blocking his appointment at the DFA because reliable sources said he is being considered as governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) when Amando Tetangco Jr. retires in July 2017.

One of the issues to be raised against Yasay is the case filed by BSP in 2011 against Directors and Officers of Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank for “falsification, grant of illegal loans, and major violations of banking laws, rules and regulations.”

How is that if he is named BSP governor?

It will be recalled that last July, in the wake of talks that Yasay would be fired as foreign secretary, Duterte came out with a statement debunking the rumors. “Actually, Secretary Yasay accepted the position on the condition that he will only serve for a few months, not even a year because he has his contractual obligations to teach, professorial chair, well most of universities in the western side... maybe California, Hawaii and somewhere else,” the President said.

Those teaching jobs in the United Sates can wait because Yasay seems to be enjoying being a member of the Duterte Cabinet even if he has not made a good impression in the diplomatic community.

The President trusts him and that is the most important factor. 

The source said Duterte wants someone in BSP who can do his bidding with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The BSP governor is chairman of the AMLC.

Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had complained about the lack of cooperation of AMLC in its operation against Sen. Leila de Lima. The current executive director of AMLC Julia Bacay-Abad is known to be a no-nonsense professional.

Meanwhile, businessman and Philippine Star columnist Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez is now being introduced as Philippine ambassador to the United States. Not just “special envoy.”

Last August, Duterte announced that he was nominating retired career diplomat Marciano Paynor, Jr. as ambassador to the United States.  Two months after, Paynor was told to concentrate on the preparations for the Philippine hosting of  ASEAN 2017.

That’s how it is under the Duterte presidency.

Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.