MANILA, Philippines - Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras is replacing Julia Abad as head of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), while former finance undersecretary Emmanuel Bonoan will replace Almendras, Palace sources said yesterday.
Reliable sources told The STAR Aquino wanted to tap the managerial skills of Almendras, a former chief executive officer of several big companies before he joined government.
“He wants a CEO-type to supervise his office. He also needs an overall secretary to the Cabinet, aside from the task of Executive Secretary (Paquito) Ochoa. Being a very close friend, of course, is definitely an advantage,” an insider revealed.
The PMS is the office that reviews the projects of the Office of the President before it reaches Aquino’s table.
However, it is not yet known when Almendras, a former classmate of the President in Ateneo, will assume his new post.
Sources said the new setup will also provide a check and balance in Aquino’s Cabinet since Julia’s father, Florencio, is the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.
Julia is said to be relocating to Washington, where her husband will be posted, sources said.
Bonoan used to head the Run After Tax Evaders, the anti-corruption arm of the Department of Finance (DOF). He is said to be a close friend of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
A lawyer by profession, Bonoan used to work with the tax division of a private auditing firm.
Bonoan’s interest in the Department of Energy (DOE) will most likely be in the renewable energy sector.
Bonoan earlier urged the DOE, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Trade and Industry to promote projects in the country under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.
Aside from tax exemptions, he said companies “will have a great return when they have proper financial projections from their investments in renewable energy.”
“Power generated from renewable energy technologies could also be sold” to the grid, adding increased capacity for the country’s electricity requirements, the former finance official said.
Separate sources earlier said either Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya or his younger brother former DOE undersecretary Peter Abaya, who served during Arroyo administration, is being considered to be the next DOE chief.
The President in a media interview during his London trip said he is considering Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan for his Cabinet.
He did not say for which positions, but Lacson will reportedly be assigned to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) while Pangilinan is said to be eyeing either the Department of Agriculture or Department of Justice.
Erap supports Ping as DILG chief
Former President Joseph Estrada, in an interview with a select group of reporters, said he supports Lacson as DILG chief.
“The President is making a good choice. Senator Lacson is capable and the right man to head the DILG,” Estrada said.
Estrada said Lacson had been an effective leader of the defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission when he was still vice president.
He added the senator had proven his capacity to fight criminality during his stint as Philippine National Police chief during his presidency.
“Why not? He (Lacson) has the capability. During his stint as PNP chief, he was able to eradicate kidnappings, carjacking and other crimes,” Estrada said.
Estrada said that it was also during Lacson’s time that the PNP got high trust rating from the people.
“The PNP’s approval rating, for the first time, went up to 53 percent. That is important to us, the peace and order,” he said. – With Jose Rodel Clapano