Bello back in the Cabinet as its secretary

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRESIDENT Arroyo has appointed presidential adviser Silvestre Bello III as Cabinet Secretary in a continuing revamp of the official family that started last month.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Bello would assume his post once outgoing Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments as the new Civil Service Commission chairman.

Saludo, who was appointed in February, replaced Karina David, who retired.

Bunye himself is set to leave the Cabinet in July to join the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Bunye, who said earlier that he would transfer to the board on June 22, confirmed he would assume his new post on July 3.

The six-year term of the board’s two members—Vicente Valdepeñas Jr. and Raul Boncan—is set to expire in July.

Before his appointment, Bello served as Presidential Adviser for New Government Centers for the last nine months, identifying ideal sites for national government centers outside Metro Manila.

He also served as general manager and chief executive of the Philippine Reclamation Authority from January to December 2006, and president of the Philippine National Oil Co. Development and Management Corp.

A former Justice secretary and solicitor general, Bello was one of the longest-serving lead negotiators in the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines from 2001 to 2004.

Other Cabinet officials affected by the revamp were Robert Dean Barbers, who was replaced by Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano as head of the Philippine Tourism Industry, and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, whose concurrent position as presidential adviser on political affairs will go to Bunye.

Election lawyer Leila de Lima, who represented opposition candidates during the May polls last year, was also appointed head of the Commission on Human Rights.

President Arroyo said a civilian post was also awaiting retired military chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who was replaced by Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano.

The President yesterday approved the promotion of two senior police officers to the rank of chief superintendent, and seven superintendents to the next higher rank of senior superintendent.

The new star-rank police officials are Chief Supt. Cecillio Calleja Jr., Region 5 deputy director for administration, and Chief Supt. Darius Tuazon Sr., Region 6 deputy director for administration.

Sworn into office as senior superintendents were Sonny David of the Maritime Group; Aaron Aquino, PRO 11; Danilo Garcia, directorate for intelligence; Danny Reyes, Region 12; Robin Cano Sr.; Roel Obusan, Traffic Management Group; and Heriberto Olitoquit, Region 13.