Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

End ‘foolish imagination’

Posted by Abi Kwok on January 26, 2009

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 14:06:00 01/26/2009

MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno on Monday defended the appointment of retired military and police officials to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cabinet and called on administration critics to stop their “foolish imagination.”

In an interview after wreathlaying ceremonies at the Philippine National Police’s 18th anniversary in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Puno said the appointment of former military and police officer did not mean Arroyo plans to stay in power beyond 2010.

“Lahat na lang ng gagawin ng pamahalaan sasabihin na ganoon [term extension]. Ngunit palapit ng palapit na ang 2010…Palagay ko habang lumalapit yung halalan, dahan-dahan nang mawawala lahat yan at haka-haka lang yan ng mga taong may mga hangad na pulitika. Huwag na lang sana paniwalaan ng tao yun dahil walang katotohanan lahat yun [Everything the administration does, they say is for term extension. But 2010 is approaching…I think as the elections draw nearer, all this talk will fade and remain a figment of the imagination of people with political ambitions. I hope people don’t believe that because there is no truth to that],” Puno said.

Criticisms over the supposed militarization of the Cabinet came after the appointment of former Navy vice rear admiral Tirso Danga to head the National Printing Office and the floating of controversial former major general Jovito Palparan’s name as a possible appointee to the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Former military and police officers already in the Cabinet are Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, incoming Presidential Management Staff chief (PMS) Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and incoming Presidential Peace Adviser Avelino Razon Jr.

Puno acknowledged that people are concerned because of moves in Congress to amend the Constitution but pointed out that what lawmakers want to change “are only some provisions and no one is talking about a change in the system of government, that is the foolish imagination of politicians running in 2010.”

Puno said the appointment of retired military and police officials is “not new” and has been done by other presidents.

“And we have to remember…military officers retire at the age 56. Batang-bata pa talaga yan [They are still young]. The retirement age for government employees is 65. There are nine productive years left years for these retired officers who have the best training [and] the best experience to bring to their jobs. I think criticisms about that [appointing retired military officers] is just politicking],” he said.

Instead of criticizing the appointments, Puno said members of the opposition should focus on next year’s 2010 elections.

He offered his own assessment of opposition candidates who, saying they “have nothing but criticism as a platform while no one knows what they have to offer for the country, why they are different, what they can do for government, what their solutions [to the country’s problems] are, what they will do about the problem of peace and order.”


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