De Lima accepts offer to join Aquino Cabinet

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2010 04:36 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2010 01:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Leila de Lima on Tuesday said she has accepted an offer to join the Cabinet of incoming President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

“He offered the position. I accepted it but he will do the announcement," De Lima told reporters outside Aquino's Times Street residence in Quezon City.

De Lima refused to confirm if the justice portfolio is the one that she will take over. She said she will now have to resign her fixed term at the CHR as she has accepted the job offer.

De Lima is only one of several people reportedly approached by the Aquino camp to be part of the President's official family.

Others in the list of likely Aquino Cabinet members are Aquino campaign manager Florencio "Butch" Abad as budget secretary, Makati Business Club president Alberto Lim as tourism secretary, President Cory Aquino’s former security chief Voltaire Gazmin as defense secretary, Cesar Purisima as finance secretary, Guillermo Parayno as Customs chief, Kim Henares as Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo as Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary, former energy chief Johnny Santos as Philippine ambassador to the US, Ayala Corporation executive Jose Rene Almendras as energy secretary and Jaime Aristotle Alip as agriculture secretary.

Aquino is also expected to retain Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo while Horacio Ramos and Greg Domingo are expected to be one-year benchwarmers in the environment and trade departments. Aquino's runningmate, Mar Roxas, and Neric Acosta are expected to take over the two positions once the one-year appointment ban on losing election candidates lapses.

Some of the people mentioned have refused to talk about their possible appointment but a source close to the president-elect confirmed that most of the names in the list are correct.

Aquino’s incoming executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. remained mum about the new Cabinet, only saying that most of those offered have already accepted.

He said the Cabinet will most likely be unveiled before the week is over.