Alvarez and his defenders should keep their hands off BoC



Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) former chair Rosario N. Lopez of the five-person regulatory body was requested a long time ago by an elected politician to appoint a new executive director. She responded briefly by telling him that the position was not available.

It was a rebuff seldom experienced by the said elected politician, who probably thought his little kingdom belonged exclusively to him. Like Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, he was also a member of the House of Representatives.

The readers of The Manila Times would note a little bit of difference in the way the unnamed politician in this little anecdote and Alvarez met their respective matches. The former was simply informed that the wanted executive director’s position has long been occupied by an SEC official, while the latter was told point-blank that the person recommended by Alvarez for promotion – an insider at the Bureau of Customs – was not qualified.

Due Diligencer finds this anecdote worth telling as a reminder to ambitious government workers that the padrino system does not always work to their advantage. As a matter of fact, the practice should be stopped because otherwise, such politicians in this country could lose, sooner or later, whatever popularity they think they still enjoy among their constituents. They may think they’re still popular when the truth is, the public may be seeing them better off extinct from politics than continue getting paid with the people’s money for doing a lousy job.

Due Diligencer on Faeldon
Way back in 2016, June 5 to be exact, I wrote a piece about Nicanor Faeldon that appeared in this space. I did not write anything about him and his qualifications that landed him “the most coveted job in government.”

As titled, “Faeldon is customs commissioner to watch,” the column said Faeldon was the choice of then incoming President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to run the BoC. As a presidential appointee, he faced the difficult task of eradicating what was perceived by the public as rampant corruption that pervaded the BoC. His assignment was not going to be easy, as could be expected based on recent events suggesting the occurrence of intervention by certain politicians in the internal affairs of the bureau – which is one of the biggest revenue collectors of the government.

Aren’t legislators supposed to pass laws? What then is this legislator doing outside of his area of responsibility? In this case, we may paraphrase an oft-repeated reminder: If corrupt politicians have nothing to do, they should do it at home.

Unluckily for Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, lawyer Mandy Mercado Anderson happens to be Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon’s chief of staff, who has the courage to stand up to him.

As a lawmaker, Alvarez is tasked to pass laws and should not interfere in the BoC’s’ affairs. It is not within the competence of a legislator to decide who among Customs’ workers deserve to be promoted and who don’t.

As a matter of fact, Alvarez should concern himself with what he thinks he does best and not in determining the qualifications of BoC employees. A military man like Faeldon is competent enough to know who are honest and efficient in their jobs and who are not.

Who does a member of the House think he is to determine the character of the BoC officials, starting from Faeldon himself down to the lowest workers in the bureau?

May the tribe of Faeldon and Anderson increase not only at the BoC but also, and perhaps more importantly, in other government agencies as well.

For the defense
The natural reaction by members of the House was to defend Alvarez, their boss. Even sectoral representatives may have joined the chorus in castigating Anderson, who called their chief “imbecile” in her Facebook account.

A certain Jericho Nograles of Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta should have been told that he, along with others like him, are not duly elected members of the House, and, therefore, do not rightfully deserve to be called legislators.

It is even more unfortunate that Alvarez’s defenders, such as House Majority Leaders Rodolfo Farinas, will not stop their tirades against Anderson as long as their favorite man/woman at the BoC has not been promoted.

By the way, Farinas was once married to actress Maria Theresa Carlson, who, according to reports, committed suicide.

The saddest thing about corrupt and dirty politicians is, they think of themselves as being beyond the law. With this kind of thinking, such politicians would, of course, wonder: Why wouldn’t they be allowed to “oversee” the BoC when they made the laws that created it?

Due Diligencer’s take
The BoC insider who had sought a politician’s help in getting a promotion he/she did not deserve should have thought first of the consequences of that action. Why would a politician offer to help a person get promoted?

Political intervention means more to the unscrupulous politicians who have too much confidence in themselves to the point of believing they are infallible.

The unqualified BoC insider should have only one question: For a promotion made possible largely by the intervention of an elected politician, what favor is expected in return?

In other words, the person should know that the political patron expects a favor in return for such a lucrative appointment at the Bureau of Customs.

Here is what could be a timely poser for Faeldon: Has he done the cleansing at the BoC – his marching order from President Duterte himself? Just asking.


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