Are the Abads the new Arroyos?

July 21, 2010

Youth group Anakbayan voiced its concern today over a staunch pro-Noynoy family whose members are now holding influential positions in the new Aquino government.

Butch Abad, a former DepEd secretary under Gloria Arroyo, now heads the Dept. of Budget and Management. His wife, Henedina, is the representative of the lone district of Batanes and is eyeing the vice-chairmanship of the House Committee on Appropriations. Their daughter, Julia, who was also Noynoy’s chief of staff when he was senator, is now the head of the Presidential Management Staff. Meanwhile, their son Luis has been appointed chief of staff of new Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

“It seems there is a ‘new kid on the block’ in the political clan-dominated landscape of Philippines politics. The Abads’ influence and power is second only to the much-hated Arroyos” observed Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.

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There are presently four Arroyos in the House of Representatives: Former president Gloria Arroyo who represents Pampanga, her brother-in-law Iggy from Negros, her son Arroyo who represents Camarines Sur, and the latest, her son Mikey who was only allowed yesterday to assume his seat as a partylist representative.

Meanwhile, Julia Abad’s position gives her a huge say on the President’s pork barrel; the House Committee on Appropriations, which Henedina is eyeing, controls the entire pork barrel; while Butch himself has a huge influence on the disbursement of government funds as DBM secretary.

“As of present, there are 94 million Filipinos in the country. It is statistically improbable that the most capable minds for heading the Abad-led positions are concentrated in one family. It’s absurd and an insult to the intelligence of thousands of more capable Pinoy civil servants” said Dulce.

The youth leader meanwhile chided the Abads for their ‘Arroyo-like’ reactions to criticisms against them.

He said “You are asking what is delicadeza, Mrs. Abad? It is something you have continually hurled against the former administration and is now something you have apparently purged from your system”.

The lawmaker from Batanes was quoted as saying “Why, what is delicadeza? I think sometimes the issue is being made bigger”.

Dulce cited that the Abads, especially Butch, made frequent use of the concept of ‘delicadeza’ in their criticisms against former president Arroyo.

He also questioned the alleged competence of the family which President Noynoy Aquino has cited as a defense to his appointment to the four.

“Define competence. They may not be involved in any graft or corruption cases, at least none that we are aware of, but their performance in previous posts certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth” said the youth leader.

During Butch’s stint as Education Secretary, he supported moves to emphasize English, Math, and Science over other subjects in public elementary and high school curriculums.

This move was widely criticized by many sectors and groups, including Anakbayan, as part of an effort to slowly shift the focus of education in the Philippines from the ‘holistic’
development of students to making students more ‘attractive’ in the world market as cheap, skilled labor.

Finally, Dulce challenged President Aquino to conduct a more transparent process in choosing and selecting his Cabinet members. (

Reference: Anton Dulce
Anakbayan National Vice-Chairperson

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