'Carandang, Coloma not acting secretaries'

by Caroline J. Howard, ANC

Posted at Sep 07 2010 08:41 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2010 08:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A Malacañang spokesman on Monday said there is no truth to reports two members of the Presidential Communications Group are only serving in an acting capacity.

Speaking on ANC's "The World Tonight," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the names of Secretaries Ricky Carandang and Sonny Coloma were not included in the initial list transmitted to the Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation because the communications group was only formed a week after the list of Cabinet secretaries was submitted to the CA.

"The list was transmitted to CA sometime July 28, the Executive Order forming the Communications Group was issued August 9. There's no way for their names to be transmitted because there was no communications group to speak of in the first place. Therefore, the insinuation that Secretary Coloma and Secretary Carandang are serving in an acting capacity is inaccurate," Lacierda said.

"Since the EO came out August 4, it behooves the office of the Executive Secretary to transmit the names of Secretary Carandang and Secretary Coloma to the CA."

It's a different story for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo after Malacañang confirmed he is indeed serving in an acting capacity.

Interviewed on ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda," Secretary Sonny Coloma said President Aquino has the prerogative to make his own appointments.

"Decision ng pangulo kung anong designation ang hinihirang kabilang si Secretary Robredo. Siya ang may dahilan kung bakit acting designation. Lahat nang in-appoint ng presidente pwede palitan dahil siya ang may hawak ng kapangyarihang yan," he said.

"Oobserbahan natin and desisyon ng CA dyan. Ginagalang natin ang prerogative ng legislative branch."

The Palace earlier said the acting DILG Chief enjoys the full trust of President Aquino.

Robredo is not bothered by the Palace's move to designate him as acting secretary.

Aside from Robredo, Malacañang confirmed that Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz are also acting secretaries.

Paje is only temporarily holding the DENR post until Liberal Party senatorial candidate Nereus Acosta steps in by July 2011

But it is not clear why Baldoz, a veteran labor official, is only serving in an acting capacity.

The three names were not in the list of Cabinet secretaries submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation.