THE Department of Interior and Local Government on Tuesday denied any ‘midnight appointments’ supposedly made by high-ranking officials from the previous administration who supposedly closed ranks against new officials appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“There is no truth to the reported ‘midnight appointments’ as alleged in the newspaper report,” said Assistant Secretary For Finance, Comptrollership and Administration Ester Aldana in a statement.
Aldana said all vacancies that are being filled undergo a selection process in accordance with the policies and rules of the Civil Service Commission.
She said vacancies are posted in the Government Management Information System, the Department’s website and were even published by the CSC as part of the government’s policy on transparency and control measures.
Aldana explained that organization and staffing of national government agencies like the DILG are governed and administered by a Personal Service Itemization and Plantilla of Personnel approved by the Department of Budget and Management such that only filled positions in said document are funded.
She said midnight appointments are not possible because before vacant positions are filled, the remuneration for those positions have to be submitted to DBM for funding purposes prior to the preparation of appointments.
“Vacant positions have no appropriations. That is why there is no such thing as midnight appointees in the DILG,” she stressed.
She said all appointments were aboveboard, went through the recruitment and selection processes, and had the go-signal of Secretary Sueno, including the co-terminous positions in the Office of the Secretary.
On the promotion of Mary Rose Vilchez as one of the division chiefs in the Financial Management Service, Aldana said this is allowed by law because Vilchez is not within the third degree of consangunity or affiliation with her, but rather within the fourth degree as cousins.
Moreover, Vilchez’s promotion was approved/signed by former Undersecretary Edwin R. Enrile on October 9, 2015.
Under Section 59 of EO 292, the word “relative” and members of the family referred to are those related within the third degree of consanguinity or of affinity.
Aldana also said she is not in any way related to Romar Panganiban, who was appointed on July 2016 on the basis of his qualifications as Certified Public Accountant as approved/signed by Undersecretary Austere A. Panadero.
She said the appointment of Vilchez and Panganiban passed through a process of screening and deliberations as well as merit selection and promotion plan of the DILG as approved by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for implementation in the Department.
Aldana also said the other names that were mentioned in the newspaper were not new appointees but old employees given promotions except for Atty. Edward Justine Orden, who was designated on concurrent capacity as Acting Director of the Legal and Legislative Liaison Service. It was a designation temporary in nature and not an appointment where no additional salary is involved.
The appointment or promotion of personnel Cheryl C. Agustin-Flores to LGOO VII; Michelle T. Tabuzo to LGOO IV; Reynaldo C. Cusi to LGOO VI; Joan Aurelia R. Rosales to LGOO V; Nicholas G. Perlas to LGOO IV; Lyn L. Aguilar to LGOO IV, Israel Jiel F. Fedelicio to LGOO IV; Elenita S. Mahinay to LGOO IV; Teresita M. Morales to Info Tech Researcher II; Kennedy B. Mateo to Info System Researcher II; Donna D. Cuacoyes to Internal Auditor III; Patricia Rose B. Dahipon to Internal Auditing Assistant were approved by Undersecretary Edwin R. Enrile on March 2016 following the required process of screening, deliberations and selection.
On the other hand, the appointment (co-terminus) of Ms. Gina Estrada from Admin Aide VI to Senior Admin Assistant was approved by Sueno himself on August 1, 2016.
Aldana said there is no specific prohibition/limitation regarding the act of an appointing officer on signing the appointment of government employees even if the said appointing authority is about to retire in a period of two months.
She also added: “All employees that were either promoted or designated after February 4, 2014 were acted upon the guidance of Circular No. 2014-01, the Enhanced DILG Merit Selection and Promotion Plan (MSPP) which was approved by then CSC NCR Director Lydia Alba-Castillo.”
She also noted that the DILG does not in any way engage in “palakasan or padrino system”. She said if one is interested to work in the Department, he or she has to get and pass the Civil Service eligibility before being accommodated.
“We are certain that only the highly qualified pass the deliberation. The Department’s manpower are career people loyal to the Institution they are serving,” she said.
An undisclosed source on Monday claimed that several “midnight” appointments made by the high-ranking agency officials who are remnants of the previous administration and who supposedly closed ranks against new officials appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The source said while Secretary Ismael Sueno was busy with the campaign against criminality and corruption, the “old-timer” officials who are holding permanent positions in the agency were busy filling up juicy positions at the DILG, even appointing their relatives.
The source showed copies of appointment papers and a list of newly-promoted and appointed DILG officials, including two who are close relatives of Aldana. Both appointments were signed by Undersecretary for Local Government Austere Panadero, instead of Sueno.
Another DILG source presented a list of new appointees whose papers were signed by Panadero. He, Aldana and a certain Veronica Macabale processed the appointment papers.