MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III administered the oath-taking of 34 government officials on Tuesday, June 30, including Health Secretary Janette Garin and former Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros.
Hontiveros, an Aquino ally, is now a board member of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).
Garin was appointed health chief in 2015 after serving as the agency’s acting secretary when former chief Enrique Ona quit his post in December 2014.
Both Garin and Hontiveros are aligned with the ruling Liberal party (LP) and pushed for the passage of the administration-backed Reproductive Health (RH) law.
Hontiveros ran in the senatorial ticket of Team PNoy in 2013 but lost. Garin is reportedly seeking an elective post in 2016.
Comelec commissioners sworn in
Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Sheriff Abas also took their oath before Aquino, after being appointed in May this year.
The Commission on Appointments has confirmed Guanzon, former mayor of Cadiz city in Negros Occidental.
She is said to be an ally of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. Guanzon is also a member of the UP Delta Lambda Sigma Sorority, the sister affiliation of Senate President Franklin Drilon’s Sigma Rho Fraternity.
Abas is the nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiatior Mohagher Iqbal. Critics allege that the government wants to use Iqbal's nephew to influence Comelec-related activities involving the MILF, such as a possible plebiscite on the proposed Bangsamoro region initially headed by the MILF. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org