It is not easy to find public officials that deserve the adjective “exemplary.”
The exemplary public official is one who is not only honest and unstained by even the tiniest drop of corruption but who is also hardworking, efficient, intelligent and articulate.
It is a joy to proclaim that we Filipinos have one in Secretary of Justice Vitaliano “Vit” Napeñas Aguirre II.
He is very much in the news because he has been tirelessly doing his job, which is the prosecution of malfeasants. The biggest thing now in newspaper headlines and radio-TV prime time news is his sacking of two close friends since school and college days and through their journey as professional men. Their closeness as professionals and workmates most recently happened during the presidential campaign, which took at least one whole year and culminated with their candidate’s victory.
So when Lawyer ‘Vit’ Aguirre became President Rody Duterte’s Justice Secretary, one of his very first acts was to choose persons who would help him do the excellent and morally perfect job he had vowed to himself he would do. So he endorsed to President Duterte two able and reputable fraternity brothers, lawyers whom he thought would solidly be with him in the work of ridding the government of corruption in the justice department—particularly in the much morally derided immigration bureau.
Alas, the two men he trusted ended up being seen receiving paper bags containing millions. They were said to have extorted P50 million from a gambling tycoon, though both claim they had confiscated the money and were going to turn them over for proper and lawful disposal. But apparently Justice Secretary Aguirre believed in the validity of the accusation against his frat brods and that there was a need to prosecute them. So he immediately sacked them and had them charged.
This is only one example of Secretary Aguirre’s praiseworthy exaltation of the now-disappearing sense of delicadeza. As a just lawyer who respects the rule of law, he has told interviewers that he is not sure of his two fraternity brothers’ guilt and will wait for the result of the investigation. But for now he will have nothing to do with them for he thinks they have betrayed his trust. And he feels very disappointed that the two were not serious about President Duterte’s and his own resolve to go on an all-out war against corruption in our country.
Our government must have more men—and women—of the moral stand and strength of Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
Many sages and holy men, foreigners and Filipinos alike, who have been observing Philippine society and governance, say that only 50 men and women public officials who are scrupulously honest and at the same time competent and effective enough–not necessarily occupying the highest offices but high enough to have a say in the way government offices are run–will make the miracle of transforming our country into one as efficient, productive and prosperous as the best in this world.
May we soon have a government with such 50 moral, competent and effective Filipinos.