Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palace forms media group led by Coloma and Carandang

- By TJ Burgonio

PRESIDENT AQUINO has finally organized his own communicat­ions group to act as Press Secretary and articulate his policies after a frenetic 10 days in power.

Mr. Aquino has tapped trusted allies—former Transporta­tion Undersecre­tary and BusinessWo­rld columnist Herminio “Sonny” Coloma and ANC anchor Ricky Carandang—to head the group.

INQUIRER columnist Manolo Quezon III is also part of the group.

“Yes, it’s been formed. That’s the mandate of President Aquino. He wants the communicat­ions group [to be formed] because it’s an important part of the Office of the Press Secretary,” Secretary Edwin Lacierda said in a forum over government-run dzRB.

The presidenti­al spokespers­on, however, declined to reveal details of the compositio­n and structure of the group, saying they were being finalized and would be announced tomorrow.

“We will have more details about it. It’s not that simple. We will announce everything by Monday,” he said.

However, a source close to the President confirmed the designatio­n of the three men to the Palace communicat­ions team. He said Carandang and Quezon would be in charge of “messaging” and Coloma, “disseminat­ion.”

The source also said that for the meantime, none of the three incoming officials would hold the title of Press Secretary.

According to another reliable source in Malacañang, Carandang is expected

to craft the messages, that in turn will be released to the press by Coloma.

The creation of the communicat­ions group took longer than expected due to the reported infighting for leadership between the LP, which is said to be backing Carandang, andMariaMo­ntelibano, who is reportedly pushing for Coloma, according to an IN

source who refused to be identified for lack of authority to speak to themedia.

Monteliban­o, a cousin of Mr. Aquino, was in charge of media relations during the campaign.

“If Sonny comes in I suppose he will tap people from Maria Monteliban­o’s team, like Jing Magsaysay. I wouldn’t know who Ricky would tap, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he taps MLQ3,” the third source said.

President Aquino himself in his first news conference last Wednesday said that he still had to patch up some difference­s in themedia group that helped his campaign so he couldn’t yet announce the names of his communicat­ions group.

Not press secretary

Last month, President Aquino disclosed he was considerin­g asking Carandang to be part of his Cabinet, but denied that Carandang would be named press secretary.

“I have not talked to Ricky but he might help us in the media group,” Aquino said in a press conference on June 14. “You really want to engage the citizenry and part of that is having an effective communicat­ions strategy. It’s not like after being elected, we’d just let our communicat­ions group take care of itself.”

Carandang also reportedly met with Mr. Aquino at his Times Street residence in Quezon City the day before Mr. Aquino’s inaugurati­on.


The formation of the communicat­ions group, which will virtually take over the job of the Press Secretary, will more or less complete the cast of Mr. Aquino’s official family.

Mr. Aquino took his oath and convened his first Cabinet meeting last June 30, without a Press Secretary and a local government secretary. Last Friday, he appointed former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo as interior and local government secretary.

The newly formed communicat­ions group will not lead to a dissolutio­n of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS). If at all, the OPS will be reorganize­d, according to Lacierda.

Under the new setup, the Philippine Informatio­n Agency (PIA) will come under the communicat­ions group.

“In my case, as presidenti­al spokespers­on, I will now be part of the communicat­ions group,” Lacierda said.

Deliver themessage

Lacierda confirmed that the communicat­ions group would have two main functions: messaging and media operations.

“The roles will be more defined. As President Aquino said, he wants an organizati­on that will deliver his messages effectivel­y, that will provide a feedback mechanism to what the government is doing,” he said, but did not go into specifics.

Who will defend its budget at congressio­nal hearings?

“That will be explained also. To the best of my knowledge, nothing will be dissolved. It would be, as we stated before, a reorganiza­tion of the Office of the Press Secretary,” Lacierda said.

Coloma was among Mr. Aquino’s most trusted advisers in the campaign, and was part of the group that coordinate­d the transition of power with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cabinet officials.

Mr. Aquino initially considered him for a post in the Presidenti­al Management Staff (PMS).

After all, Coloma headed the PMS and served as deputy executive secretary in the Office of the President under the administra­tion of Mr. Aquino’s mother, the late Corazon Aquino.

Coloma was also undersecre­tary in the Department of Transporta­tion and Communicat­ions (DOTC) and in the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under the same administra­tion.

Currently a professor at the Asian Institute of Management’s W. Sycip Graduate School of Business, he was associate dean of the Executive Education and Lifelong Learning Center and was associate dean of the Master’s in Business Management program.

Coloma obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree major in Political Science, minor in Philosophy from the University of the Philippine­s. He holds a master’s degree in business management from the Asian Institute of Management. He earned his Ph.D. in organizati­on developmen­t in 2009.

Coloma writes a weekly column, “Vector,” for BusinessWo­rld.

Columnist, TV host

Quezon, who is on leave from the INQUIRER, was the spokespers­on for the inaugural of President Aquino.

A regular columnist for the paper since 2004, his column, “The Long View,” appears thrice aweek in the INQUIRER’S opinion section.

Quezon is also the host and writer for the show, “The Explainer” which airs on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

No stranger to government service, he worked as consultant at the office of the late Sen. Raul Roco (1996-1997) and was a speech writer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she was a senator (1997-1998) and later, when she was Vice President (1999-2001).

Broadcast journalist

Carandang, TV host and anchor for the ABS-CBN News Channel, graduated with an AB Management Economics degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1990.

He is the eldest of three sons of noted clinical psychologi­st Dr. Maria Lourdes “Honey” Carandang and neurologis­t Dr. Brigido Carandang, president and dean of St. Luke’s College of Medicine.

Carandang became president of themagazin­e Newsbreak in 2001, with Marites Vitug, Glenda Gloria and Chay Hofileña at the core of its editorial team.

On ANC, he hosted “The Big Picture,” “Dateline Philippine­s,” and more recently, “The Rundown,” with Ces Drilon.

Carandang is not a member of Aquino’s Liberal Party, but once joined a think-tank that had LP members. He resigned Friday from ABS-CBN.

ABS-CBN yesterday confirmed this on its website: “ANC Management accepted the resignatio­n of Anchor Ricky Carandang, which he submitted Friday, July 9, 2010.”

Sources: Inquirer archives, Asian Institute of Management,,

 ?? AFP ?? ORACLE OF OBERHAUSEN Paul the clairvoyan­t octopus spreads his tentacles over the box with the Spanish flag to indicate his prediction on who will win theWorld Cup.QUIRER
AFP ORACLE OF OBERHAUSEN Paul the clairvoyan­t octopus spreads his tentacles over the box with the Spanish flag to indicate his prediction on who will win theWorld Cup.QUIRER

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