MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Outgoing presidents are known for their “midnight appointments,” but Philippine President NoyNoy Aquino will be known for his “midnight awards.”
With less than a week away before his 6-year-term ends and as he turns over the reins of government to Mayor Rod Duterte, Aquino presented 24 presidential medals to members of his cabinet and others in his administration.
On Thursday, June 23, Aquino bestowed two awards – the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Gold Cross Bayani on Cabinet secretaries and the Presidential Medal of Merit on other senior officials.
The President personally thanked his Cabinet members for their service and sacrifices, praising some of them for giving up their jobs and personal time with their families to “bring change” to the country. “I couldn’t have done anything without you,” he said.
But conspicuously missing from his honorees were three of the most popular agency heads of the Aquino administration — Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Emilio Abaya and Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina.
All three protested their omission from the merit awards and went as far as calling Aquino persona non grata.
Incidentally, the three agencies were named by Duterte as “the most corrupt” agencies in the country. (While the Land Transportation Office or LTO was the third agency mentioned by Duterte, it is under the jurisdiction of the DOTC headed by Abaya. The infamous Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA, is also under his wing).
By snubbing the three admninistration heads, political analysts have concluded that Aquino agrees with Duterte’s assessment on the three most corrupt agencies in the country.