Sacking of National Museum board sends shockwaves


Posted at Mar 28 2010 05:17 PM | Updated as of Mar 30 2010 07:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines – A senior consultant of the National Museum on Sunday said the institution’s entire board is in shock after they were ordered replaced by President Arroyo more than 3 months before she steps down from office.

Arroyo appointees in key positions after June 2010

Here is a list of appointments made by President Arroyo that will spill over to the next administration. These posts have fixed terms so the appointees are secured of their tenure. The next president will not be able to replace them during that tenure.

In an interview, National Museum senior consultant John Silva branded the revamp as a “misguided decision."

“For the millions of people who've visited the National Museum for the past 12 years, [they have] seen a beautiful, world class, first rate museum. People love it, people enjoy it. People really have a great time. It is the soul of the Filipino people,” he told ANC’s “Dateline Philippines."

“It is rather inexplicable for us that Mr. Cojuangco and the board and Alvina were not told, were not forewarned about these changes,” he added.  

He said the whole staff “were still reeling from the shock” after Mrs. Arroyo ordered the revamp without warning.

Silva said among those replaced were the museum's chairman, businessman Antonio Cojuangco, and director, Cora Alvina. Cojuangco has been replaced by retired journalist Larry Henares as museum chairman, while Alvina was replaced by Malacañang Museum director Jeremy Barns.

Silva said he suspects that politics might have something to do with the changes inside the museum. “Like museums throughout the world, [the National Museum] should not have political theme. It's always above all that and unfortunately I think it’s being dragged into the situation.” 

He also noted that cultural institutions should be spared from politics for this might affect the performance of the museum, particularly its fund raising aspect.

He warned that some donors might shy away from supporting the museum. 

“We’ve been loyal… it is again a real contradiction that this would happen. So, we want a magical wish list to reinstate Alvina as executive director and to reinstate the board that has just been sacked including Mr. Cojuangco,” he said.