NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar - President Aquino is keeping people guessing if his ally, former Cavite Governor Erineo 'Ayong' Maliksi is going to be the next chairperson of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Aquino refused to categorically confirm reports that Maliksi, who lost the 2013 Cavite gubernatorial election to Johnvic Remulla, will replace Margie Juico.
“Can we wait for the appointment? Soon, ano, and we will come to it as soon as possible," he told reporters after the ASEAN Summit in Myanmar.
Juico quit her post last week, amid criticism over her management of the PCSO, the handling of the expose over the use of PCSO funds to allegedly buy luxury vehicles for some bishops of the Catholic Church, as well as latest blows to the plunder case government filed against former President Gloria Arroyo for the alleged misuse of PCSO funds.
“Well, you know, I have to weigh that with the fact that she served not only myself, ano, and my administration; but she has also been a constant with regards to my mother in particular from...Alam mo, probably from 1978 e, during the interim Batasang Pambansa elections then all throughout to the time my mother assumed [office], even the portion of my mother's life when she was no longer President, she was still a constant.“
Aquino, however, continues to speak fondly of Juico, who is known to be close to his family as the social secretary of his mother, then President Cory Aquino.
“When I asked her at the beginning if whether --- she is the...parang one of the few people I know who had experience with PCSO. So she seemed to be the right individual to place in that position at that time. She was hesitant to accept it, ano. She wanted...Not as chair, she wanted, if at all, to be a member of the board. So, for her to have rendered service all this time is, I think, suffice to say parang 'thank you.' "
Aquino feels Juico just got tired of her job.
“It takes quite a terrible toll on so many things. From your income, to your being the magnet for all criticisms, to having no private life, to being invaded in each and every step 'di ba. There is a point, I guess, everybody will have a saturation point. And every time that they continue in serving our people, I thank them.”
Maliksi will reportedly assume office once the one-year ban on losing election candidates from government posts lapses this week.
Aquino, meantime, squelched any notions about any possible revamps in his official family.
“You know, I am always asked about a Cabinet revamp and I wonder why. Parang in all honesty nga, as I did mention...Hindi ba most of my Cabinet [members] have been with me from day one; so will there be changes? Some of them indicated that...They are saying that parang mutually-agreed-upon time, they would want to go back to their private endeavors.
"Pero, at this point in time, nobody is yet being replaced. Pero balik ko rin, hindi naman tayo makapal 'pag medyo alam na nating matagal nang nabubugbog iyong tao at nagsabi 'pwede ho bang time-out na?' e hindi ko naman pipilitin na, 'Huwag ka munang mag-time-out. Hintayin na natin iyong June.' June 30 ba or June 29? para sigurado --- June 30 bago noon, okay.”
Last week, Aquino ally former Senator Francis Pangilinan assumed office as the new Presidential Assistant of Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, placing under his office the National Food Authority, National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority. These 4 agencies used to be under Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who is himself reeling from corruption allegations.