MANILA, Philippines - An alleged "midnight appointee" of the Arroyo administration on Friday blamed Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita "Ging" Deles for the disagreement between the Supreme Court and Malacañang on the issue of Executive Order 2.
In an interview, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) secretary Bai Omera Dianalan-Lucman said it was Deles who repeatedly pushed for the appointment of former education secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Dr. Hamid Barra of Lanao del Sur, as her replacement.
Lucman said she sought an audience with Deles several times to clear things up but the adviser refused to talk to her.
"Ayaw niya akong kausapin. I exerted so much effort in meeting her para walang gulo. Bakit mo ako papalitan? Am I not competent? One time, I went to see her in the office when she arrived. Nag-hi ako sa kanya, hindi niya ako pinansin. Is she really a peacemaker? No. She cannot be an effective peacemaker for the Muslims," Lucman said.
The NCMF is the government agency under the Office of the President created by Republic Act (RA) 9997 that replaced the defunct Office of Muslim Affairs. It covers both local and national affairs involving Muslim Filipinos. It is headed by a secretary, who at the same time acts as the chief executive officer and is allowed to attend all Cabinet-level meetings.
Lucman was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the first NCMF secretary and commissioner with a rank of Cabinet secretary last March. However, President Aquino recently appointed Barra to replace Lucman.
Lucman has refused to vacate her post, saying she has legal grounds to hold on to the position because she was appointed NCMF Secretary on March 8 and took her oath on March 10 before the start of the midnight appointments ban.
She subsequently filed petition before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of EO2 and at the same time seeking its nullification.
EO 2 revokes the appointments that Arroyo made on or after March 11, 2010, or the first day of the constitutional ban on presidential appointments two months before the presidential elections and until the end of term on June 30.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order granting Lucman's petition to stop the Aquino administration from implementing EO 2.
In response, Aquino urged the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling since it will have far-reaching consequences in government.
The President said he issued Executive Order No. 2 recalling, withdrawing, or revoking midnight appointments "because the previous administration had exceeded and abused the limits of its powers to appoint."
"While this Status Quo Ante Order applies only to one of four petitioners, let me be clear about its far-reaching consequences. By focusing on the minutiae of the case, the Supreme Court effectively turned back the clock. It dishonors the decency of those who had the courtesy to resign," he told Malacañang reporters.
"The potential result of this will be chaos and paralysis in the Executive Branch of government, as the legitimacy of officials appointed to replace those already removed will be cast in doubt," he added.
In his speech, the President said the Supreme Court order will embolden hundreds of similarly situated appointees of the past administration who had already been replaced, resigned, or recalled, to demand that they be reinstated or retained.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said Malacañang cannot fault it for issuing a halt order on a case involving an executive order, saying judicial review is well within its powers.
Lucman has appealed to President Aquino to respect the Supreme Court's status quo order.