Not just delicadeza, but smart management


CABINET members who intend to run for office in the 2016 elections should follow the example of Vice President Jejomar Binay and resign their posts, Senator JV Ejercito said at a forum on Tuesday. This is an eminently sensible suggestion that we believe any Cabinet member with electoral ambitions should heed at once.

The call was echoed by a number of lawmakers in both houses of Congress, including Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

The main point raised by the legislators was one of delicadeza, that fuzzy concept of propriety that is often injected into discussions of the behavior of public officials but not often followed in practice. Even if they do not intend to misuse the resources of their departments or even realize they are doing so, the Cabinet secretaries with campaign plans can hardly avoid doing so, Ejercito explained in his remarks.

The two congressmen in turn both pointed out that one very obvious form of using public resources for campaign purposes is the recent proliferation of “infomercials” produced by various Cabinet departments.

Malacañang, not surprisingly, has defended the practice as part of the Secretaries’ job to keep the public informed. That is an explanation we find highly dubious, as nearly the entire Cabinet are solid allies of the President and the Liberal Party, who have a vested interest in the prospects for the Cabinet members’ election success.

Among those already known or expected to run in the elections next year, according to a number of sources, are DILG Secretary Mar Roxas for President, and for the Senate, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, TESDA director-general Joel Villanueva, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Health Secretary Janette Garin, and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.

A matter of focus
While we certainly support the call for delicadeza and agree that it is imperative that these ambitious officials conduct themselves in a manner that is above suspicion, whether in their appointed offices or on the campaign trail, that is not the most important reason for the Cabinet to heed the lawmakers’ call.

The real issue, as we see it, is one of effective management. Even a completely honest and well-intentioned official cannot perform his appointed duties with full attention and effort if that devotion is divided between his job and his political objectives.

This year will be critical to the Philippine economy. The country’s economic performance is already being tested by global instabilities, and this year, the country is deeply involved in the development of greater regional linkages through the formation of the Asean Economic Community and the initiatives of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Anything less than peak performance on the part of Philippine government departments could very well be the result if the leaders of those departments spend their time on individual ambitions.

Fortunately, most government agencies are staffed by competent technocrats in supporting roles to the Cabinet secretaries. For example, prior to his current post, BSP governor Amando Tetangco Jr., the country’s first central bank governor to serve two terms, had worked in various positions in the organization over a few decades, even as a subordinate helping the BSP chief maintain monetary stability and investor confidence while instituting market discipline during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Current Cabinet officials are entitled to pursue other offices if that is their ambition. What they are not entitled to, however, is the freedom to compromise the efficient function and output of their current offices in that pursuit. Those who are facing the choice should declare where their commitment lies; if it is not fully dedicated to their departments, then they should resign and let the other competent administrators do the job for the benefit of the governed and the nation’s future.


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  1. The top EPALs in the cabinet are petilla, garin and de lima. Petilla with his ridiculous energy sense tv campaign, he doesn’t know it but he is in fact eroding whatever little credibility (minuscule to begin with) he might have with this inane and idiotic “energy sense save cents” campaign. If he thinks he will win the support of the masa with this inanity somebody will please tell him that the masa do not have aircons to tinker with the thermostats of. Garin could have had a better chance if she auditioned for “Bahay ni Kuya” series and perhaps become a movie actress someday. The way she poses on tv enunciating inconsequential pronouncements you would think she was promoting a hair or cosmetic product with a super close up (she fills the entire screen) of her face with her pa-cute smiles. It’s downright disgusting knowing that the costs of these epals are paid for by our taxes. De lima from day one has shamelessly displayed her ass licking to land a slate in the moron’s lineup for the Senate. No amount of self respect as a legal functionary was spared doing the patently illegal orders of the moron. I sincerely wish these people will run in the next polls so that I will have the pleasure to see them lose.

  2. “Delicadeza” or Proprietary behaviour are lost words in the vocabulary of public officials even when acting so exposed the resources of their offices to their personal political ambitions leading to virtual collisions of interests between governance and personal political aims. This situations put the administrations cabinet officials in an advantageous position to get personal recognition and media exposure with the use of their department budgets/funds in the guise of promoting their departments responsibilities though projecting the image of the officials. Example is De Lima engages in media conferences or buying airtime as public service to inform that the Buresu of Prison is now being cleansed with drugs, weapons and communication equipment that support drug activities inside prison walls. It is her job to do these clean up without “fanfare” yet making it known to all nook and cranny of the nation via media or bought airtime is deemed public service yet appears “EPAL” and, as such uses public money for political recognition for self-promotions in an upcoming elections where the official has the imprimatur to run for a political position.
    To obviate this conflict of interest, the cabinet official intending to run for a political position MUST tender resignation and focus on the election instead of going around the nation meeting political leaders at the expense of the office in the guise of performing the duties of the office.

    • Another example is the giving of free housing to the policemen and firemen, with a note that this is a project of Mar Roxas, or handing out cash to the needy by DSWD.

  3. Kailan nagkaroon ng delicadeza ang official ng gobyerno??kailan!!
    Puro kapal ng mukha ang ginagamit ng mga ito!lalo na ang pangulo!