The palace bang

IF HIS his Palace colleagues were to be asked, Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang need not apologize nor should he shut up after prematurely announcing that President Aquino is readying a revamp in his Cabinet.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda even validated Carandang’s claim, having told the Malacañang newsmen in one of their briefings that “I don’t think Ricky Carandang was speculating when he’s just stating a matter of fact.”

And it was because Carandang was reportedly with Mr. Aquino when he disclosed to three newsmen, one of them former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, that there “will be three people who will be revamped.”

“There was nothing offensive or insulting or pre-empting the President then…it would be wrong if Ricky would have said “magkakaroon tayo ng revamp” and then saka papasok si Pangulo. And by the way, Ricky was present in that interview. So he knew what transpired between the interviewers, the Star reporters and the President. So he’s fully aware of the interview,” he said.

In short, the controversy should be put to rest so the Palace can move on with other issues relevant to the President’s programs.

But Lacierda also admitted that because of Carandang’s announcement ”there is now a concern for (sic) the  Cabinet members.”

Oh yes, Carandang may be stating a fact, but that really angered pro-administration Sen. Chiz Escudero. He said  that Carandang should keep his mouth  shut on impending Cabinet shake-ups and focus on his job of improving Malacañang’s communication strategy.” It is a sensitive matter that should not be taken or mentioned lightly,” he said.

And that is not the end of the problem. It is just part of the continuing saga of two warring factions in Palace. Such an incident was glaring –and embarrassing –example of the worsening infighting between the two most influential political blocs in the Aquino government.

Escudero is being tagged  with the Samar Group, having joined the Palace people who were not identified with the Liberal Party during the campaign. Carandang, on the other hand, is a known diehard member of  the so-called Balay Group, having clandestinely worked with the group of LP President Mar Roxas  despite his being an anchorman with the Lopez’ ABS-CBN network , before being appointed as one of the senior communication handler of the President.

I would agree with Lacierda that they were all serving the President even if he admitted that there was factionalism in the Palace. But we still have to be convinced that the factionalism wracking the corridors of power, is not affected the way Mr. Aquino is running the bureaucracy.

We can’t blame Sen. Escudero for having castigated Carandang, who had obviously been so gungho in prematurely announcing a revamp, which he jut confirmed, merely because he was eavesdropping in a closed-door interview, which could even be part of an off-the-record discussion.

It was also Carandang who enjoyed disclosing the private escapades of Mr. Aquino, when he should be focusing on official statements from the Palace.

We don’t doubt the sincerity of the President, but it’s a pity that his people continue to hound each other given an opportunity.

The PNoy’s major initiatives to reform the bureaucracy and weed out corruption will simply be lip service, unless his people stop their infighting, now that they have allocated among themselves sensitive posts in government.

The Palace people should not rubber-talk and blame the so-called factionalism as mere figment of the imagination of some newsmen, unless they have proven that they can work as a team. Joel Paredes


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