The group Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) on Tuesday asked President Benigno Aquino 3rd to exercise “prudence” in selecting appointees to constitutional bodies, stressing that the only criteria should be “competence, integrity, and commitment to the service of the country.”
“The President must exercise this power with great prudence. In judging his legacy, historians will evaluate the people he appointed and how well they have served. Since his new appointments will serve beyond his own term, whether he knows them personally and is comfortable with them should no longer be the most relevant criteria. Neither should these offices be treated as rewards for faithful subordinates or political friends,” the group said in a statement released to media by Dr. Isagani Cruz.
“The President still has the chance now to broaden the executive search for these commissions, which serve to buttress our democracy,” it added.
Sought for comment, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. assured the group that Aquino will appoint the people best fit for the requirements of the job.
“Considering the significance of the positions to be filled, the President seeks to fill these with the best qualified persons,” he told The Manila Times.
The official agreed that these institutions— the Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission— will be strengthened by having strong leaders.
“By appointing persons of known probity and competence, the strengthening of these vital public institutions may be achieved,” stressed Coloma, who is being eyed as chairman of the CSC.
The former government executives also noted the “urgency” in having vacant positions in constituional agencies filled up soon.
“As Former Senior Government Officials, we have learned that a strong democracy rests on four government pillars, the three branches of government and, collectively, the Constitutional Commissions. The Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial branches exercise supreme authority within their respective spheres. The Constitutional Commissions ensure that these three branches do not abuse their exclusive powers,” the group said.
Given the mandate of these Commissions, we expect that those chosen to lead them will come from experienced executives who have excellent credentials and credibility in the office they will assume, as well as deep familiarity with, if not actual involvement in, the operations of government and the bureaucracy,” it added. “Those who perceive the President as a lame-duck forget the fact that he will appoint replacements for those chairs of constitutional bodies whose terms expired on 2 February 2015.”
The new appointees shall serve for a fixed term of seven years and can be removed only by impeachment.