Aquino's MC 1 can't touch 1,400 Arroyo appointees

Posted at 07/02/10 2:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Civil Service Commission on Friday clarified that the number of presidential appointees that is expected to be affected by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's Memorandum Circular No. 1 (MC 1) is lesser than expected.

CSC head Francisco Duque said that as of Thursday, only 89% of all the presidential appointees of the past administration have been inventoried.

The 89% translates to a total of 3,007 presidential appointees holding positions in various branches of government.

He said that of the 3,007 appointees, 357 are co-terminus and 831 are holding career executive service positions but are not career executive service officer (CESO) eligible.

Of the total number of presidential appointees, Duque said 1,242 are CESO eligible and 183, including himself, have fixed terms.

From the Department of Health, Duque was appointed to the CSC, replacing former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's spokesperson, Ricardo Saludo.

Duque said that they are still accounting for the 11% of the currently occupied career executive positions. He expects to finish the task by next week.

He said that even if all CES positions have been accounted for, the number of the presidential appointees that will be affected by President Aquino's first memorandum circular will not reach 1,500 as earlier reported.

First order, a blooper?

The Aquino administration on Thursday issued a revised version of the MC 1, which originally declared "all non-career executive service positions vacant as of 30 June 2010 and [extended] the services of contractual employees whose contracts expire on 30 June 2010.”

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Malacañang had to "fine-tune" the memorandum circular since it was supposed to affect only political appointees and not all non-career officials in government.

The revised order, which was still signed as Memorandum Circular No. 1, declared "all non-career executive officials occupying career executive service positions to continue to perform their duties and responsibilities and extending the services of certain contractual and or casual employees whose contracts expire on June 30."

The revised order thus contradicts the first memo issued Wednesday since it effectively retains non-career executive officials occupying CES posts.

Lacierda refused to call the revision of the President's order "a blunder," stating that the memo's language only needed fine-tuning. He said the Cabinet received a lot of text messages from non-career officials in government who were raising concerns on their status.

"It's not a retraction. We are just fine-tuning the language. The essence of the circular is the same," he said.

Asked if the revision of the order could cause embarrassment for the newly installed president, Lacierda replied: "Not really. It's part of the growing, learning curve."

He also denied that the revised memorandum circular was in fact a new order, only stating that the new document negates the old one.