WHEN will Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Manager Jose Angel Honrado bow to popular demand and call it quits? Must we Filipinos wait for the Last Judgment to come before he gracefully exits from the stage?
Honrado makes his own surname inappropriate for himself. He manifests the same pathology common among Filipino politicians and public officials. This disease is rarely seen in more civilized political cultures: the officials’ tenacity to cling to a position even when the whole nation demands that they quit.
Strangest of all, the pathology evidently comes from the desire to save face. They believe that by resigning an office, they will confirm the worst that has been said of them.
When the National Bureau of Invetigation (NBI) officially confirmed the existence of the Tanim-Bala (bullet planting) extortion racket at the Ninoy Aquino International airport (NAIA), and then filed charges against employees of the DOTC’s Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and the PNP’s Aviation Security Group (ASG), we thought it would finally induce Honrado to submit his resignation.
Instead, this political appointee and relative of President BS Aquino issued a public statement saying that he will not quit. He declared that he must continue the service and the program that he provides at the nation’s main international gateway.
Public office not a sanctuary
A public office is not a haven or a harbor in which the citizen, if lucky to be elected or appointed, should seek sanctuary. It is a place where the officeholder is expected and mandated to do a job and do some public good. When he or she insists on clinging to office, come hell or high water, he/she inflicts harm on the public service.
In the book, Honest Government, an Ethics Guide for Public Service, by Michael Cody and Richarson Lynn, the authors discuss the options available to an appointee like Honrado. They are only two: 1) resignation out of principle or voluntary resignation; or 2, wait to be fired from the job by the appointing authority.
A third option, says the book, is “going down in flames,” clinging to office to the bitter end. But be warned, the flames will burn bridges and restrict future chances at public service.
Mr. Honrado should see the film Heneral Luna–if he has not yet seen it. If he has, but is not being challenged to choose “bayan” in the film’s emphasis on Heneral Luna’s message — “Bayan o sarili?” (Nation or self?), then he is really undeserving of his name.
And he also dishonors his friend and relative’s good governance claim and slogan (Daang Matuwid).
His bad performance as the Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), his claim not to have any responsibility for the conduct of the luggage handlers and security personnel of the airport named after his cousin, Ninoy, his apparent tendency to excuse the criminal acts of the tanim-bala extortionists, are proof of the untruthfulness, hypocrisy and vacuity of honor of President BS Aquino.
Mr. Aquino claims to be a reformist president who has achieved so much in removing corruption and incompetence in Philippine government service. He claims that it is to make sure that the person who becomes the next president continues his anti-corruption and reformist government, he is moving heaven and earth to ensure that his anointed successor, Mr. Mar Roxas 2nd, wins the presidency in 2016.
Yet, Mr. Aquino cannot or will not dismiss his uncle, friend and favorite official, Mr. Jose Angel Honrado, who is a model of incompetence and corruption as shown by his willingness to tolerate the tanim-bala perpetrators in NAIA.