MANILA, Philippines – Nearly all of over 200 appointments made by President Arroyo just days before the 60-day ban on appointments prior to elections took effect were accepted by the appointees.
Among the few who declined were the president’s manicurist and the daughter of mall tycoon Henry Sy.
Many of the appointments made to juicy positions in Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs). Anita Carpon, President Arroyo’s personal manicurist was earlier reported to have been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the P202 billion Pag-IBIG Fund.
Press Secretary Jun Icban said, however, that Carpon declined her appointment. "She felt it was too much of an honor, she did not want to get the president in any further trouble.”
Icban said the president accepted her manicurist’s refusal to accept the post.
Edwin Lacierda, spokesman of president-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, likewise thanked manicurist Anita Carpon for her delicadeza. The Aquino camp earlier said it will review Arroyo’s midnight appointments.
Meantime, the office of Teresita Sy Coson, who was shown in the list obtained by abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak to have been appointed to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (formerly Public Estates Authority), told abs-cbnNEWS.com that she has not taken her oath and will decline the appointment.
Sy Coson is the daughter of Henry Sy, owner of the SM mall chain.
The appointments in the partial list obtained by abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak where clearly done at the 11th hour. Some appointments, including that of Manila Standard Today columnist Emil Jurado were dated March 25 – days after the ban took effect.
The ban was supposed to take effect on March 10—60 days prior to the May 10 elections.
Malacañang stressed, however, that even though they appeared to have been made at the 11th hour, President Arroyo had to the make the appointments.
“She has the right to make appointments, maybe they are 11th hour appointments, but she has all the right.,” said Icban.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Charito Planas likewise stressed that the appointments were done “legally.”
Icban and Planas both stressed that the only way the next administration will be able to replace the 11th hour appointees is if they volunteer to resign their posts.
“If would be better that they [the appointees] tender their courtesy resignation,” according to Planas, to give the next administration the opportunity to select its preferred appointees to said posts. However, she pointed out that this will be up to the appointees. “Nasa appointee pa rin yun.”
"Everybody will have to make their own decision,” Icban said.
The Office of the Press Secretary was not able to confirm if Armado Macapagal, the president’s gardener, accepted the appointment to the Luneta Park Administration.
Icban said the president also considered that the appointments might provoke criticism. However, he added that she placed more premium on the need to appoint “qualified persons” to the posts in order to sustain the delivery of government services.
"The question is whether she should still make them, in her mind, she should, it is of critical importance, everyone of them in her mind is very critical, she cannot leave it vacant,” Icban said. – abs-cbnNEWS.com with a report from Ricky Carandang, ABS-CBN News