Thursday, June 24, 2010


June 24, 2010

Mr. Hilarion Henares

National Museum

Manila, Philippines

Dear Mr. Henares,

The majesty of democracy is that power resides in its citizens, that it can periodically change its representatives and dispense with directives previously and unlawfully promulgated.

That is why I am asking for your resignation, that of the rest of the National Museum Board as well as that of Mr. Jeremy Barns.

You were all installed by outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 23, 2010 or thereabouts, done abruptly and with no cause.

Your installation violated Sections 8 and 9 of Republic Act No. 8492 known as the Act Establishing A National Museum System, Providing for its Permanent Home and For Other Purposes.

Section 8 (Board of Trustees) specifies that of the ten Museum trustees, there will be two from the Senate and the House that are chairmen of their respective Education Committees. Their presence serves the purpose of balancing the role of the Executive Department and assuring the continued operations of the Museum. Both branches were not informed of the abrupt installation and constitutes a violation.

Section 8 specifies that seven other Trustees must come from the private sector of which three must be “distinguished Filipinos” in the areas of art, science and history.

In addition, Section 9 (Appointment of Trustees) states that these seven trustees are to be selected from a short list suggested by NGO’s from the museum and cultural sector (Read: the tax-paying citizens) as well as the business community. Furthermore all prospective trustees must be “selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest and commitment to arts and culture.”

President Arroyo did not go through the consultation and short list process, and arbitrarily chose her trustees. Therefore, the citizens are deprived of ascertaining and confirming her choices to be “distinguished” or have demonstrated a commitment to arts and culture. This is a violation of Sections 8 and 9.

Since their qualifications and/or commitments did not emanate from public consultation, none of them may exercise the term limits given to Museum trustees as stated in Section 9.

On a side note, given that your appointments as trustees constitute a violation, your board resolutions particularly that in appointing Mr. Jeremy Barns as Director is also a violation. In fact, he holds the title spuriously since as of today, the Museum’s Senate Representative (Senator Mar Roxas) and the Congress (Congressman Del de Guzman) did not sign any such resolution.

The abrupt replacement of the Museum Board of Trustees by individuals who we believe have not demonstrated Museum qualifications or experience thus far, violate the spirit of the Museum Law which enshrines Trustee selection on the basis of public consultation, consensus and merit.

Given the above violations of the Museum law, I, along with other citizens who agree with this document call for your immediate resignations and advise incoming President Noynoy Aquino to reinstate the legitimate Trustees and Museum Director Cora Alvin to their respective positions.


john l. silva

John L. Silva

Former Senior Consultant

National Museum of the Philippines