Palace: Fajardo not sacked

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — NO sanction against one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s spokespersons over the reported flak on her controversial statement on the reported friendship of Her Excellency with the Ampatuan clan despite the Maguindanao massacre.

Presidential Spokesperson on Economic Affairs Prof. Gary Olivar belied that Lorelei Fajardo was sacked as one of Mrs. Arroyo’s spokespersons over such statement.

In a text message to Palace reporters, Fajardo said she relinquished her post to focus on her other job as presidential assistant for Central Luzon.

She said she was first offered to serve as undersecretary of the Office of the Press Secretary, replacing Anthony Golez who resigned to prepare for his congressional bid in Bacolod next year, but decided against it.

“I was given a choice between serving as full time undersecretary of the Office of the Press Secretary and presidential assistant for Central Luzon. It’s my honor to serve Secretary (Cerge) Remonde, he’s been a good mentor and a friend,” she said.

The Palace official said given her background and experience, she chose to devote her full attention to governance issues in Region III where she said her services are most needed.

Prior to joining the Arroyo government in 2006, Fajardo served as mayor of Palayan City in Nueva Ecija from 2001 to 2004, and concurrent national treasurer of the League of City Mayors of the Philippines.

Fajardo has been serving as presidential assistant for Central Luzon before she was appointed spokesperson in October 2007. She first served the Arroyo administration as assistant secretary under the Office of the President in March 2006, and was transferred to the Office of the Presidential Chief of Staff in March 2007.

Fajardo’s decision came nearly a month after she made a controversial statement on President Arroyo’s friendship with the Ampatuan clan, who is implicated in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao on Nov. 23.