Aquino names 2 Cabinet members

By Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2010 10:00 PM | Updated as of Jun 01 2010 07:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President-apparent Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said on Monday the search for members of his Cabinet continues.

He said Cabinet members in his administration need to be honest, have integrity and will not abuse power.

Aquino named his good friend, Atty. Paquito "Jojo" Ochoa Jr, as his executive secretary. Ochoa played a key role in Aquino's campaign for the presidency.  

Ochoa's family also has close ties to the Aquino clan. In the event that a justice secretary cannot be found, the position may also be offered to Ochoa.

Aquino said Ochoa has accepted his offer in principle. He also said Ochoa has his "utmost trust."
Aside from Ochoa, Atty. Edwin Lacierda has accepted the post of presidential spokesman.

Aquino earlier said he would appoint former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman to her old post, which Soliman also accepted.  

But the rest of the posts in Aquino's Cabinet are still up for grabs.

For the education portfolio, Aquino said he is considering Brother Armin Luistro of De La Salle University (DLSU) and former Education Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad.

Abad, Aquino's campaign manager, previously held the post in the early years of the Arroyo administration.

For the tourism department, Aquino said he is asking celebrity talk show host Boy Abunda. However, the host, who is a good friend of the Aquino family, said he would like to stay in showbiz.
While Aquino did not name his appointments to the military and police, he said he will definitely not reappoint General Delfin Bangit as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and will not accept the resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa.

Former Arroyo Cabinet men

Other names reportedly being floated for the Aquino Cabinet and other top positions are Cesar Purisima for finance, Alberto Lim for budget and management, Willie Parayno for the Bureau of Customs, Cayetano Paderanga for the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Alberto Romulo for foreign affairs.

Former DSWD Secretary Soliman, former Education Secretary Abad, former Finance Secretary Purisima and former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Parayno were part of the so-called "Hyatt 10," Cabinet and senior officials who asked President Arroyo to resign in 2005 following the "Hello Garci" election fraud scandal.

Lim is currently the executive director of the Makati Business Club (MBC). Paderanga was NEDA director-general in the last 3 years of the Aquino administration. He was also a member of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board from 1993-1999.

Romulo, a long-time family friend and supporter of the Aquinos, has been foreign affairs secretary of the Arroyo government since 2004. He had expressed his personal support for Aquino in the May 10 elections.

Balay vs Samar factions

But even as the search for Cabinet members continues, reports are surfacing that the jockeying for positions among the different factions in the Aquino-Roxas campaign is intensifying.

Several in the camp of Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas II believe there are those in the group that supported Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) vice presidential bet Jejomar "Jojo" Binay, and not Roxas.

An office in Araneta Center in Quezon City is known as Balay, and served as the campaign headquarters of the Noy-Mar campaign. Among the groups that used Balay are the "Hyatt 10", the Liberal Party, and the Bantay Balota vote protection group. 

Meanwhile, a house along Samar St. in Quezon City was used as an office by Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero; Jojo Ochoa, head of Pinoy Lawyers; and, Maria Montelibano, media and communications  head of the Aquino campaign.

This is why the two factions involved in the fighting are known as the Balay group and Samar group.

While Ochoa has denied supporting Binay for vice president, members of the Balay faction say he did, and should not have been offered the post of executive secretary.

Escudero, however, denied being a part of any faction.

Aquino himself admitted there are several groups pushing for different people to be appointed to his Cabinet, but he refused to call them factions

While he has yet to be officially proclaimed the new president, Aquino is facing one of his first hurdles -- choosing his Cabinet that will serve as his alter egos for the next six years.