PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo named Transportation and Communication undersecretary Anneli Lontoc as the new secretary of the department vice Leandro Mendoza, whom she earlier appointed as executive secretary.

Mendoza, in his first briefing as Executive Secretary after replacing Eduardo Ermita who is running for congressman of Batangas, said that Lontoc is currently the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) undersecretary for road transport.

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He further described her as a career officer who rose from the ranks in government.

Lontoc, prior to being promoted as undersecretary, was the former head of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and concurrent assistant secretary of the DOTC.

She first joined government through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), handling various positions until she became the Assistant Regional Director for the National Capital Region in 1998.

She was later named director at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Appointments, before being promoted to assistant secretary at the Office of the Secretary for the President’s Priority Programs and Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects.

Mendoza said that aside from Lontoc, also appointed was Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) General Manager Angelo Verdan as the new head of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Verdan replaced Ma. Elena Bautista who was appointed by President Arroyo as new Presidential Management Staff director general vice Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who resigned to run for congressman of Pangasinan.

Reports said CPA Deputy general manager Dennis Villamor would replace Verdan as CPA head, a post he held since 2006.

Deputy Spokesman and concurrent Reconstruction Commission chairman Ricardo Saludo, meanwhile, was named as the Presidential spokesman, a post concurrently held by Ermita as then Executive Secretary.

Saludo, who previously served as secretary to the Cabinet and deputy spokesman, was initially transferred by Arroyo in the Civil Service Commission as chairman in 2008, but failed to get the Commission on Appointments.

He was then returned to the Office of the President late in 2009 as chairman of Reconstruction Commission, and later as concurrent deputy spokesman.

The appointments are part of the reshuffle in government following the resignation of several Cabinet officials who are running for congressional or mayoralty positions.

The new appointments included Alberto Agra as Justice Secretary vice Agnes Devanadera who is running for congresswoman of Quezon; and Joaquin Lagonera as Budget Secretary vice Rolando Andaya Jr.; who is running for congressman of Camarines Sur; Bernardo Fondevilla as Agriculture Secretary vice Arthur Yap who is running for congressman of Bohol; Rogelio Peyuan as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general vice Augusto Syjuco who is running for congressman of Iloilo; and Natividad Dizon as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel vice Raul Gonzalez who is running for mayor of Iloilo City.

Arroyo also named former Education Secretary Jesli Lapus as new secretary of Trade and Industry vice Peter Favila after appointing the latter to the Monetary Board under the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Former Presidential Assistant on Education Mona Dumlao-Valisno took over Lapus’s post. (JMR/Sunnex)