Palace plan to replace protocol officers hit

By Aurea Calica
Palace plan to replace protocol officers hit

The former chief of presidential protocol lamented yesterday Malacañang’s reported plan to replace most of the protocol officers by July 31 despite their training, experience and loyalty to service.

Retired ambassador Miguel Perez-Rubio told The STAR that many of these officers served under several administrations, making them seasoned and competent to do the job.

About nine protocol officers will be dismissed while two will be retained based on information reaching him, Perez-Rubio said.

But for Perez-Rubio, it is always better to have people with a “doctorate degree” rather than just a bachelor’s or master’s, so to speak.

“No matter how willing (or) intelligent you are, protocol requires practice, time,” Rubio said, noting how delicate the job could be, especially when involving the country’s president.

When he served during the time of former presidents Corazon Aquino and her son, Benigno III and then Fidel Ramos, Rubio said, “I retained all the protocol officers regardless of when they started or political affiliations.”

“For as long as they are not crooked or did not do anything wrong, they should not be replaced,” he said.

Perez-Rubio said the Administrative Code places the Office of the Presidential Protocol under the Office of the President directly and while the head should naturally be chosen by the Chief Executive, replacing the “subalterns every six years is detrimental” to the service.

He said only a new presidential protocol chief with an ulterior motive could possibly prefer new recruits – and that would be to ensure their loyalty to him rather than to the president.

“I am reminded…of (former) ambassador (Manuel) Zamora, who headed the protocol office from (ex-) president (Manuel) Quezon during the Commonwealth until president Diosdado Macapagal. That was indeed continuation. May this example be also applicable to protocol officers,” Perez-Rubio said.