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Gloria,The Insufferable (2nd Update)

May 29, 2010

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo just can’t let go.

She knows the she’s hugely mistrusted, reviled even.

But witness what she’s doing going into the final months of her hold on power – she’s giving midnight reappointments to her closest men who are entrenched in big-ticket agencies – most prominent of which is PAGCOR – the state-owned gaming corporation that runs casinos across the country.

But not just casinos.

PAGCOR, chaired by Ephraim Genuino (former Rotary Club buddy of Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo), is in the middle of building a gaming complex along the reclaimed area of bayside Roxas Boulevard with  a centerpiece tower that promises to rival even Malaysia’s Petronas Tower.

Nothing wrong with pursuing a dream project that can help boost tourism, you’d say.

But zoom out so you’ll see what’s wrong.

The midnight reappointments of Mr. Genuino and his board comes back to back with a string of midnight designations of that essentially usurp the prerogatives of the incoming administration.

It is a no brainer to realize that while GMA has formed a transition team and offered to hold a joint meeting of her outgoing Cabinet with that of President-apparent Noynoy Aquino, she’s doing so with a wagging forked tongue.

Malacanang even claims the appointments were actually made on March 24.

If we are to believe this, then it’s obviously time to also revamp the Presidential Management Staff as woefully incompetent for revealing the appointment into the last month of GMA’s hold on power.

Constitutionalist Jesuit priest Joaquin Bernas slams the action as ‘garapal (blatant).”

2nd update

Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc now reveals that the number of GMA’s midnight appointees has reached 200 and is certain to increase.

Everyday in Malacañang the members meet to draft midnight appointments of the First Couple’s loyalists. Insiders say they’ll keep at it till President Gloria Arroyo’s last minute in office at noon of June 30. The aim is to preempt Aquino’s cleanup of the bureaucracy, but in the meantime the appointees may help themselves to the public coffers. So much for Arroyo’s promised smooth transition to Aquino.

Among the earliest placed were Arroyo’s personal manicurist, First Gentleman Mike’s private accountant, and their gardener. Soon followed her favorite generals and his closest Rotary Club mates. It does not matter that they should all be co-terminus with Arroyo. So far more than 200 have been positioned or extended in real or imagined tenured positions — to sit two to six years beyond her term. And so have been packed not only state corporations but also authorities, commissions and boards with specialized functions. Apparently Arroyo’s midnight search body thinks the Supreme Court will uphold the illegal appointments.

With Arroyo’s numerous midnight appointees, Aquino could end up a lame duck from his first day in office. But sources say the incoming President has been forewarned and so forearmed. He has vowed before and after the election to revoke the onerous appointments; his legal advisers know how to do it.

Arroyo’s subalterns have also been making midnight deals and expenditures. But again Aquino has been informed and is showing displeasure. After he pointed to last-minute purchases of Army weaponry, foreign governments halted negotiations with the departing admin. Of the unbridled spending, Aquino said over the weekend: “Many are saying that the releases are continuing. I hope these are not covered by the campaign ban (Jan. 10-June 10). We are looking for a demonstration of managing the (fiscal) deficit, but what we’ve heard is that the spending is continuing.”

Palace insiders are said to have sent word to Aquino’s men about Arroyo’s fund releases just before the campaign started. Allegedly among these were P1 million each to the 159 barangays in Arroyo’s Pampanga 2nd district, and 186 barangays in congressman-son Dato’s Camarines Sur 2nd district. Arroyo had wanted a government firm to bankroll the total P345 million, but professional officers resisted due to lack of funds. So she supposedly was forced to advance the money from her official budget, and is now pestering an agency for refund. “Cleaners” are attempting to doctor covering papers. But as Jun Lozada said of quick and dirty deals, bubukol ‘yan.

Insufferable she truly is.

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