Paje now permanent DENR secretary, Neric Acosta out

So now it can finally be told. Bukidnon Online received a few tips about this a few days ago but we refused to write about it at first since the details were still hush hush. Apparently, former Bukidnon congressman, Clean Air Act author and environmentalist Neric Acosta will NOT be DENR Secretary…not just yet, at least.

Current Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, who has been heading the DENR on “acting” capacity, has been appointed permanently by President Benigno Aquino III. This means that Paje is now a permanent member of the Aquino Cabinet and plans to put Acosta as his supposed replacement is no longer a possibility.

According to a news report, Aquino III has permanently appointed Paje to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Acosta, who served for 3 consecutive terms as Bukidnon First District congressman, lost in the 2010 senatorial race. Talks of him replacing Paje was strong since a few months ago.

About 3 weeks ago, however, there were full page ads printed on national broadsheets that allegedly pointed out cases filed before Sandiganbayan against Acosta, his mother Socorro and aunt Nemia Bornidor. Acosta released a statement with regard to that. You can read it here. Acosta claimed that the ads were part of a smear campaign launched against him.

*** Bukidnon Online also conducted a survey among its readers. We asked if Acosta should be appointed DENR Secretary. As of May 27, 2011, 37 people said yes, 16 people said no, 4 said that he can be appointed but only after the cases are resolved while 1 said the matter did not interest him/her. You can view the survey results here. ***

Due to this development, Aquino said that he will instead give Acosta some sort of an advisory position with Cabinet rank. Some of Acosta’s responsibilities would reportedly include coordinating ecological and environmental concerns that may need the president’s special attention.


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