MANILA, Philippines - In his first press conference after being proclaimed by Congress as president-elect, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Wednesday cited individuals who will have a spot in the Cabinet, and those who will not.
Aquino said Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas, his Liberal Party runningmate who lost to vice president-elect Jejomar Binay, will play a major role in the Aquino administration. Losing candidates are barred from holding any public office for one year.
"At the minimum, after the one-year ban meron siyang puwesto. Kung ano ang kursunada niya, ibibigay natin (At the minimum, he will be given a post after the one-year ban. Whatever he wants, we will give it to him)," the incoming president said.
He admitted that he would not be able to leave Roxas at the sidelines with the senator's big role in his successful presidential bid.
He added that it would be a big loss for him if he would not allow Roxas to play a big role in his administration, which aims to rid the government of graft and corruption.
Aquino said that, for now, he is giving Roxas "some space." He assured that when Roxas returns from vacation he will meet with the senator.
"Of course he will have an unlimited access to me," he said.
Roxas lost to Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino vice presidential bet Jejomar Binay by a slim margin. Roxas is mulling an electoral protest over the result of the canvassed votes.
Conceding presidential bets in
Aquino also assured the public during the press conference that he will not violate the Constitution by appointing relatives to positions in government.
"Kung magbabasa tayo ng Saligang Batas, bawal ang nepotismo (If we would read the Constitution, it prohibits nepotism). It's a non-issue," he said.
The incoming president, meanwhile, said that he is willing to accept the offers of help coming from his former rivals in the presidential race.
He said receiving the help of the losing presidential candidates, who conceded to him before his proclamation, is his way of offering reconciliation after a "bruising campaign."
"Si President Erap handa siya makipagtulungan. Sa iba pa na nag-concede noon, malamang po i-tap natin ang kanilang experience at kakayahan," Aquino said.
The first presidential candidate to concede to Aquino was Nacionalista Party's Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr.
The camps of Aquino and Villar got caught up in a heated exchange of accusations during the campaign.
In his statement after feeling that his numbers in the initial canvassing would not catch up with Aquino's, Villar offered to help the incoming president.
Estrada, for his part, conceded to Aquino through a prepared statement read by his son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, right before the proclamation by Congress.
Bangit out, Verzosa in
Aquino announced during the press conference that he may retain National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa.
“Malamang ma-retain si General Verzosa,” he said.
The top cop was one of the first people in the Arroyo Cabinet to announce that he will be filing his courtesy resignation as soon as Aquino assumes office in a few weeks.
Aquino also announced that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s former chief security aide, General Delfin Bangit, will be replaced as chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“His comments and insinuations does not indicate a harmonious relationship with us,” Aquino said referring to Bangit.
He added that he order a review of the bypassed promotions of more than 300 military officers, except for Bangit’s.
He assured that those who are deserving, will be recommended for approval before the Commission on Appointments.