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Aquino Announces Her Biggest Cabinet Reshuffle In Wake Of Coup Attempt

December 31, 1989

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Corazon Aquino announced sweeping Cabinet changes Sunday affecting such key posts as finance, justice and military affairs to reinvigorate her government in the wake of this month’s failed coup.

It was the most extensive Cabinet shakeup since Mrs. Aquino took office in the February 1986 uprising that toppled the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

Her spokesman Adolfo Azcuna claimed the latest reshuffle had not been prompted by the coup attempt but ″by the same reasons, perhaps that precipitated the coup.″

The rebellion took place amid growing criticism of the administration for failing to address the broad social, economic and social problems facing the country.

Most public criticism had been directed at the departments of transport, education, agriculture and agrarian reform, whose secretaries were also among those replaced in the shakeup.

″The thrust of these changes is the need always to adjust to new situations to assure improved delivery of services to our people,″ Mrs. Aquino said in a nationally televised statement.

In her announcement, Mrs. Aquino said Jose Cuisia, administrator of the Social Security System, will take over as Central Bank governor when the term of incumbent Jose Fernandez expires Jan. 20.

Retired Maj. Gen. Mariano Adalem was named presidential adviser on military affairs, replacing retired Maj. Gen. Jose Magno. Adalem was also appointed acting chief of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

There had been widespread criticism of the intelligence service’s failure to predict the Dec. 1-9 coup attempt, in which at least 113 people were killed and more than 500 injured.

Mrs. Aquino also named Jesus Estanislao, former economic planning secretary, to be secretary of finance, replacing Vicente Jayme. Jayme, who underwent cardiac surgery this year, was appointed presidential adviser on economic and financial affairs.

Other changes included:

- Labor Secretary Franklin Drilon as secretary of justice, replacing Sedfrey Ordonez who was named ambassador to the United Nations;

- Senen Bacani, a former agribusiness executive, as secretary of agriculture, replacing Carlos Domingez who resigned;

- Isidro Carino, a university president, as secretary of education, replacing Lourdes Quisumbing who resigned;

- Rep. Oscar Orbos as transport secretary, replacing Rainerio Reyes who resigned;

- Tomas Gomez, consul general in Honolulu, as press secretary, replacing Azcuna, who was named to a new post as presidential spokesman and legal adviser;

- Rep. Florencio Abad as agrarian reform secretary replacing Miriam Defensor Santiago, who resigned;

- Cayetano Paderanga Jr., as acting secretary of economic planning and director general of the National Economic Development Authority. He was formerly deputy authority director;

- Dionisio dela Serna, acting secretary of labor, replacing Drilon as labor secretary.

Mrs. Aquino retained Fidel Ramos as defense secretary despite demands by mutineers that he be replaced. Ramos has crushed all six coup attempts while serving as military chief of staff and later defense secretary.

Also retained was Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus, who was widely criticized for sloppy management of a department where former Marcos supporters hold key positions.

Mrs. Aquino reorganized her Cabinet after coup attempts in November 1986 and August 1987, but the changes failed to satisfy military dissidents or lead to significant improvements in her administration.

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