Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0529/01 0370852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060852Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9082
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000529
DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, INR/B
NSC FOR H. MORROW
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINS PINR ECON RP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ARROYO MAKES SEVERAL CHANGES TO HER CABINET
REF: A. OPS CENTER – MANILA 02/06/2006 TELCON
¶B. MANILA 0242
¶C. 05 MANILA 5688
¶D. 05 MANILA 4140
¶E. 05 MANILA 3154
¶1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified. Please
¶2. (SBU) Summary: On February 5, Malacanang announced
several changes to President Arroyo’s Cabinet.
Representative Ronaldo Puno replaced Angelo Reyes as
Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Reyes will now head the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources. Malacanang announced several other
appointments and promised more in coming weeks. The Cabinet
changes announced by Malacanang contained no major surprises.
¶3. (U) On February 5, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita
announced several changes to President Arroyo’s Cabinet.
Representative Ronaldo “Ronnie” Puno was appointed Secretary
of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
(Note: Among other matters, DILG supervises the Philippine
National Police. End Note.) Puno, who is head of the
Pro-President Arroyo KAMPI party, played a central role in
her 2004 presidential campaign. Puno also served as DILG
Secretary under former president Estrada from 1999-2000 and
was Assistant DILG Secretary during the Marcos Administration.
¶4. (U) Secretary Angelo “Angie” Reyes, whom Puno is
replacing, will now head the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR). This position has been vacant
since January when then-secretary Mike Defensor became Chief
of Staff at Malacanang (ref B). Reyes, who had been in the
DILG Qsition since July 2004, previously served as Secretary
of National Defense (2001-2003), He also served as Chief of
Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under
President Estrada, playing a key role in Estrada’s January
2001 ouster. Reyes was reportedly offered the post of
Ambassador to the U.S. but declined.
¶5. (U) Malacanang announced several other changes to the
— Eduardo Antonio Nachura was appointed as President
Arroyo’s chief legal counsel, replacing Merceditas “Mercy”
Gutierrez, who became head of the Office of the Ombudsman in
December 2005 (ref C). Nachura, a former congressman from
Western Samar in the central Philippines, assisted the Arroyo
administration’s successful effort to stave off impeachment
in mid-2005 (ref D).
— Representative Rolando Andaya was named Secretary of the
Department of Budget and Management. The position was
temporarily occupied by Romulo Neri following the resignation
of Secretary Emilia Boncodin in July 2005 (per ref E,
Boncodin subsequently joined opponents of the administration
in calling for President Arroyo’s ouster). Neri returns to
his former position as Director General of the National
Economic Development Authority.
— Dr. Esperanza Cabral was named Secretary of the Department
of Social Welfare and Development. A cardiologist, Cabral
formerly headed the Philippine Heart Center. She replaced
Lual Hati Pablo, who temporarily occupied the position
following the resignation of Secretary Corazon “Dinky”
Soliman, who joined the Opposition in July 2005 (ref E).
— Edgardo Pamintuan was appointed Chairman of the
Subic-Clark Area Development Authority, a newly-created
position. Pamintuan, who hails from the President’s home
province of Pampanga, located northwest of Manila, had served
as Arroyo’s Adviser for External Affairs.
¶6. (U) Without elaborating, Ermita said more appointments
will be announced in coming weeks.
¶7. (SBU) Comment: The Cabinet changes announced on February
5 contained no major surprises. Mission contacts had hinted
of these appointments as early as mid-January (ref B). In
filling the positions, Arroyo elected to stick with
experienced political players like Puno who had demonstrated
proven loyalty to her.
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