Militants were quick to condemn the appointment of Manuel Roxas II, president of the administration Liberal Party, as head of the Department of Interior and Local Government, saying it exposed the department to partisan politics.
Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino, who is eyeing a seat at the Senate in 2013, said the appointment will "definitely further politicize the position and make the DILG even more vulnerable to patronage politics and unfair machinations by the ruling party."
Casino said on his Twitter account, even before the appointment was made official, that he viewed the choice of Roxas, seen as the LP's likely presidential candidate in 2016, with apprehension.
Casino is reportedly considering running under the United Nationalist Alliance, a coalition between former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and PDP-Laban, chaired by Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Youth group Anakbayan also criticized the appointment, saying it "shows how hypocritical and unabashedly trapo (traditional politician) the Aquino administration is."
In a statement, Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo said Roxas' appointment was the exact opposite of the "brand of leadership DILG secretary Jesse Robredo was praised for." Crisostomo also cited the Liberal Party's seeming inability to get Robredo confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. Robredo, for a time, "shared the DILG with 'kabarilan' (DILG Undersecretary) Ronaldo Puno," he said.
"Roxas' appointment smacks of patronage politics and will further strengthen the trapo ways of government, considering that elections are fast approaching," he said.
But there were also words of praise for the incoming Local Government secretary.
The Philippines called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory …