Aquino's optometrist gets PRC board post
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Friday defended the decision of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to appoint his optometrist to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Optometry.
Celebrity optometrist Vivian Sarabia, who designed and supplies the eyewear of the President and his sister, actress-TV host Kris Aquino, was sworn in as PRC optometry board member on Thursday along with 32 other presidential appointees.
In a press briefing Friday, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda rejected comparisons between Sarabia's appointment and then President Arroyo's decision to appoint her manicurist, Anita Carpon, as board member of the Pag-IBIG Housing Fund. Carpon later declined the appointment.
"You're comparing apples and oranges here. The manicurist was appointed to Pag-IBIG and Dr. Sarabia is being appointed to the board of optometry. She is, after all, an optometrist," Lacierda said in response to a reporter's inquiry.
He added: "There is no conflict of interest in the first place. If you look at the people that the President has appointed, of course he will need people whom he has trust and confidence. That's basic, and of course the requisite competence and integrity. There is nothing in the CV of Dr. Sarabia that would show her incompetence. The fact that she made the glasses for the President is irrelevant to the fact that she is competent to be part of the board of optometry."
Lacierda said it is unfair to say that Sarabia was appointed because of her professional relationship with the President. It was noted during the press conference that Kris Aquino also endorses Sarabia's eyewear.
"The premise is a bit unfair on the part of Dr. Sarabia. We are looking at competence here...She has proven her competence. She is known in the industry and she can very well contribute to the development of the optometry profession," he said.
The Sarabia family has been making the eyeglasses of all Philippine presidents since the time of President Manuel L. Quezon.