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Is Aquino cousin fit to become Clark airport boss?

Mick Basa
Is Aquino cousin fit to become Clark airport boss?
The issue of nepotism aside, some aviation officials are not sure the new CIAC president Emigdio 'Dino' Tanjuatco Jr has the necessary background to manage one of the country's international airports

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Who is Emigdio “Dino” Tanjuatco III and why are aviation officials hard put to vouch for his qualification to run the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC)? 

Tanjuatco, a cousin of President Benigno Aquino III on the maternal side, has reportedly been appointed to the CIAC board, and is set to be named its president and CEO in October, to replace Victor Jose Luciano, who will be transferred to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

The news of Tanjuatco’s supposed appointment was first reported by Philippine Star. In a followup report, it quoted Luciano, who had been on the CIAC board since 2006, as saying he was not given any reason for his transfer to CAB. The President’s party mate, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II reportedly only told Luciano that he had accomplished his mission at CIAC.

Sought to comment on the new appointee, William Hotchkiss, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), told Rappler: “I have no idea who he is.”

He said, though, that a CEO position at an international airport would need aviation experience, aside from management and leadership skills.

A source from CIAC told Rappler they would respect the Presiden’t appointment of Tanjuatco. He set aside the issue of nepotism.

“All of us serve at the pleasure of the President. He is the ultimate appointing authority,” the source said.

He pointed out that in the past few months, Tanjuatco went through a “crash course” in preparation for his appointment.

He also said that before the Palace makes an appointment, the nominations are vetted by a committee at the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG).

The commission checks possible appointees to GOCCs for derogatory record.

The CIAC source, who refused to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the issue of nepotism should not raised against Tanjuatco because he “is a distant relative” of the President.

Dino Tajuatco’s background

Tanjuatco is a 3rd-degree relative of the President. His father, Egmidio Sumulong Tanjuatco is a first cousin of the late President Corazon Aquino, the President’s mother. Corazon’s maiden name was Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco.

Dino Tanjuatco was a member of the Rizal provincial board. He was also appointed to manage government-owned residences during the administration of President Corazon Aquino

Michael Arthur Sagcal, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Communications said he did not have information on Tanjuatco’s professional background, but asked the public to trust the President’s decision.

CIAC is under the DOTC, which is headed by the President’s party mate, Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

“So if the President has appointed him, we can be assured that he (Aquino) believes in the capabilities of Mister Tanjuatco to act as president of CIAC,” Sagcal told reporters on Thursday, September 18. 

Malacañang would neither confirm nor deny Tanjuatco’s appointment, but said that as a “general rule” one’s “management expertise” is also important in running a government corporation.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a news briefing on Thursday, that she is “reluctant to deny or confirm anything” since she has not seen the appointment papers.

On concerns that Tanjuatco does not have an aviation background, Valte said: “Perhaps, as a general rule, it may not also just be required that your background be in aviation, given that it would also take some management expertise to run some particular GOCCs.” –






(Editor’s note: In the original version of this article, Emigdio “Dino” Tanjuatco III was mistakenly identified as Emigdio “Dino” Tanjuatco Jr. Tanjuatco Jr. is Tanjuatco III’s father, who was appointment manager of government residences during the late President Corazon Aquino’s term. We regret the error.)

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