Palace welcomes Cabinet audit

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — MALACANANG yesterday welcomed a proposed performance audit on Cabinet members by Congress for as long as it is done “professionally and objectively.”

Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio said the proposal could serve as a “reasonable guide” to President Macapagal-Arroyo as the appointing authority.

“The proposed audit is welcome and should be appreciated for its constructive purpose,” Claudio said.

“While Cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the President…such an audit could serve as reasonable guide to the chief executive and could spur department heads to perform their jobs well with greater zeal, integrity and efficiency,” he said.

Speaker Prospero Nograles had proposed that Congress conduct the performance audit to determine who among them are remiss in their responsibilities and how they are using government funds. He said the audit of government agencies is an oversight function of Congress.

Nograles however admitted all Cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the President and it is up to her to decide whether or not to implement a revamp.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita earlier said Mrs. Arroyo is not expected to reorganize the Cabinet this year despite the yearend review of their performance. He said the President is “satisfied” with the performance of her Cabinet members as she has indicated during the last Cabinet meeting in 2008.

However, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza clarified that Mrs. Arroyo has the prerogative to reshuffle her men anytime she desires.

“That is always a possibility. We are not aware sa gagawing pagbabalasa. Nasa kamay ng Pangulo ang decision na yan whether it is the beginning, middle or any time of the year,” Dureza said in a radio interview.

He added that Cabinet members have accepted that losing their posts is part of the nature of their work.

“Our being there in the Cabinet is in the hands of the President. Whether you submit a courtesy resignation, by the nature of our work, kung may decision na tuloy ka o palitan ka nasa Pangulo iyan,” Dureza emphasized.