Of course, it’s nepotism

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One of the funniest cartoons ever drawn depicted the white South African president Pieter Botha (a lonely white dot at the edge of the drawing) telling thousands of black dots who practically occupy the entire drawing, “You are under arrest.”

Seeing that cartoon, I knew with reasonable certitude that Nelson Mandela and his followers would win. Apartheid was history.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad is in the same hole as the Afrikaner president in his current struggle to persuade this nation of 100 million that the appointment of 11 members of his family to choice positions in the Aquino administration is “not nepotism.” Everyone is against him. Even language itself says he’s wrong. It’s nepotism, pure and simple.

The appointment of Abad’s relatives all over the government map is indubitably nepotism, in much the same way that the DAP payoffs to the senators in the Corona impeachment trial were indubitably bribes.


Abnormal , unethical and grotesque
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda can rationalize the issue to death. It will not change the reality, that it’s abnormal, unethical and grotesque for one family to monopolize so many key positions in the government.

The more Lacierda talks, the bigger the hole becomes.

“Their surnames,” says Lacierda, “should not be a basis for saying they have too much power. I think their performance in government should be a gauge as to whether they are an asset to the country and to the government.” How on earth can he win his case this way?

Then there’s Abad’s reply to Bishop Bacani’s call for him to resign out of delicadeza: “What delicadedza are we talking about?” he asked. The very fact that he asked means he has no ounce of delicadeza in his body.

Finally, there’s President Aquino weird contribution to the defensive effort, his admonition to Bishop Bacani: “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

I can already see on the horizon hundreds of thousands rising to judge Abad, Aquino and the Administration.

It’s raining Abads in government
Why does the idea of Abads raining on the government sound so repellent ?

Basically because it is the antithesis of our democratic ideal of building a truly egalitarian society, where there is opportunity for all.

The very history of democratic civilization is the story of the fight against nepotism.

The war against nepotism was principally led by America in the 18th century, starting with the abolition of English inheritance practices. The trend continued in the nineteenth century, with the creation of a federal civil service based on merit and efficiency rather than on family connections.

This tradition of meritocracy was carried to our shores by the American conquest of 1898. And we’ve followed this tradition since.

If the Abad nepotism is allowed to stand and persist, it would mean the reversion of this country to hereditary rule. It would herald the defeat of the principles of freedom, meritocracy and equal opportunity, which were the ideals for which our people fought in our national revolution.

Since President Aquino is fighting so staunchly for the Abads, we must ask him: Did generations of our people fight for independence only to yield their precious birthright to the Abad family?

It’s true, of course, that not all nepotism is as execrable as this. In business, especially in family businesses, there is a long tradition of hereditary succession. In the professions, in certain occupations and other callings, it’s quite natural for children to follow in the career choices of their parents. And they are helped along the way.

Up to a point, nepotism can contribute to a stable and working social order.

But in government service, nepotism is a grave disorder, the equivalent of rape.

The Ph rule on nepotism
Nepotism, simply defined, is the allocation and distribution of appointments in the government on the basis of kinship,

It is the sibling of patronage, which is the disbursement of the discretionary favors of government in exchange for political support and to favored groups.

The current Philippine rule on Nepotism is covered by Section 9, Rule XIII of the 1998 Memorandum Circular No. 40 of the Civil Service Commission, which states that “No appointment in the national, provincial, city or municipal governments or any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned and/or -controlled corporations with original charters shall be made in favor of relative or the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau or office or of the person exercising immediate supervision over the appointee.”

The memorandum also provides that “unless otherwise provided by law, the word relative and the members of the family referred to are those related within the third degree either of consanguinity or of affinity.”

Abad is not alone
United Nationalist Alliance secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco deserves much credit for bringing the nepotism issue to public light.

Thanks to him, the nation has learned that Abad is not alone in milking high office for the appointment of relatives to choice positions in the government.

Aside from Abad, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has nine declared relatives in government—two sisters; two brothers-in-law; a sister-in-law; two nieces; and two nephews.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has seven declared relatives, while Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. declared five relatives each.

The extent of nepotism in the Aquino administration betrays how poorly it has been organized, and why it has been plagued by incompetence. Many of the favored appointees do not have the backgrounds and skillsets for purposive and dedicated public service.

The controversy instructs us why nepotism is more harmful than patronage. Patronage, at least, seeks the expansion of political support for and the effectiveness of the appointing power.

In contrast, nepotism is entirely selfish; it seeks mainly to advance a family’s interest.

By weakening meritocracy and diminishing efficiency, nepotism costs the nation plenty.

The only efficient thing Abad can point to is the efficiency with which his Department of Budget and Management has abetted the looting of the public treasury. Not surprisingly, some DBM top officials are among those charged by the Ombudsman in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Abad should follow once he is shamed enough.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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16 Comments

  1. Good article, and may I add that ” it also robs (the majority poor) the less fortunate, the chance and opportunity to land a job , who maybe equally intelligent and qualified for a gov’t position, because of “Nepotism”.

  2. Richard Rendo on

    “The appointment of Abad’s relatives all over the government map is indubitably nepotism, in much the same way that the DAP payoffs to the senators in the Corona impeachment trial were indubitably bribes.” — it may be ‘nepotism’ in your ‘eyes’ and in thousands or millions more who have ‘eyes’ like yours. Unfortunately, your ‘eyes’ are not the ‘eyes’ of the law. What matters is how the law ‘sees’ these appointments. How you ‘see’ them is irrelevant, or good only for your personal consumption and nothing more. Under our laws, the Abads are innocent until proven otherwise. My take would, of course, traverse a different path if delicadeza were a crime. Even then, there are values far more important than delicadeza. This includes efficiency. Meantime, why not criticize the Abads on the basis of how they fare at the tasks assigned to them?…i still respect your personal opinion though. That respect will last until Communist China takes over our right to free expression and/or your right to free press.

  3. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

    Seven days a week in almost all the major newspapers, you can read issues
    about corruption going and is more rampant today than in any previous administration.
    Worst today because what you can read are only these not in accord with the present
    administration are accused or indicted. Its a clear selective justice going on here.
    What about Abad, Alcala, Villanueva. Was it not Aquino himself who took the pain
    in accompanying Napoles to surrender? Was it not Roxas, the driver who took the
    pain in fetching Revilla to Aquino so they can talk? For what purpose? To protect
    themselves? Malinaw pa sa sikat ng araw. The DAP has been sitting in the Supreme
    Court for soo long. The people have been waiting to see since to see whether the
    taxpayers money can just be spent at the whims of these people in government to
    bribe members of congress in the impeachment of Corona? But regrettably, that
    DAP issue is still hanging in the Supreme Court. What are these justices doing.
    Waiting for something too. Somebody, a foreigner asked me the other day a question
    “What is happening to your country” I asked him, what about? He said about
    your government. He said, this did not happened before. He was telling me, that
    before it was Thailand who send their people to the Philippines to study how to
    maximize their rice production particularly in U.P. Los Banos. Today, it is Thailand
    who export rice. What’s happening he said. The point is, the Philippines is no longer
    respected abroad. Why, corruption is massive, more rampant and this administration
    is soo selective, vindictive, inept and incompetent. Nakakahiya kayo.

  4. Teplon noynoy,kaya nyang tapalan lahat ano mang butas meron ang mga tauhan niya,shame wala sila no!sila ay Santo at hindi nagkakamali!sino tayo para husgahan ang perpectong si noynoy!para kunang nakikita sa 2016,pungulong noynoy nakaupo di sa wheelchair

  5. “If the Abad nepotism is allowed to stand and persist, it would mean the reversion of this country to hereditary rule.”

    Reversion suggests stepping backward. But when did this country ever was ruled other than by hereditary? Generational politics have been with us even before Jose Rizal fell for Josephine Bracken.

    One cannot shame the shameless. Especially if that one may whisper something like, “Mr. President, don’t even think of asking me to resign. I can hold a press conference and tell-all what we did from 1986 till 1992, and who did this and that.”

  6. It’s all Manuel Quezon’s fault. He said he would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos…well, he got what he wished for. Well, too bad he died before he could experience what this hell is like! Why, he left us alone to suffer! Bwisit!

  7. I guess some Pinoy families are just smarter (at securing sinecures) than others.

  8. These people who are practicing nepotism in the government through their influence, understand very well, the meaning of delicadeza and nepotism, but because of character weakness, the temptation of money and opportunity is so great, they fall.

  9. The reason they want to keep nepotism is so easy, we all know it. They know it but think the rest of us are stupid. If it were others engaging in nepotism & stopping their qualified family getting in they would soon see it. But thinking like that is always the case in the philippines. My golf club charges lees for a filipino to become a member than it does a foreigner, when i confronted them & told them it was racist they said no it isnt we want to encourage more filipinos to become members. Its that way of thinking all over this country. Sometimes i feel happy that the philippines is suffering because of a few reason, one being they dont care about discrimination against foreigners but if it happened to a pinoy abroad all of you as one are against it.

  10. Nepotism as in the case of Sec. Abad is akin to the “Political Dynasty” problem that we have in the Philippines. Unless the people themselves will take the solution of this problem into their hands, this problem could only get worst in years to come.

    Perhaps, what we need is a national referendum to address this problem once and for all. It’s naïve to think that our lawmakers will eventually get enlightened and pass laws to stop this problem.

    I propose that churches and civic organizations in the Philippines in all regions of the country will take the lead in crafting the referendum. I think we still have thousands of good meaning people who are ready to donate cash to make this movement possible. I on my part is willing to donate some cash for this purpose.

  11. How we can describe PNoy and his administration regarding the nepotism practice of his key people cannot reveal the exact word or adjective to use. All we can think of in English is shameless, think-faced, in Tagalog” makapal ang mga mukha”, and in Cebuano, “mga tawong walay uwaw”‘ It is time to ostracize these relatives who are in their jobs who are possibly unable to find jobs outside of government and are placed in their positions to milk the government as an extension of the power of their relatives.

  12. Ang kapal talaga ng mukha ni Abad. His lack of so-called “delicadeza” is as bald as his head. In the same manner that PNoy’s incessant protection and defense of his subordinates inordinate practice of nepotism is brazenly dirty and without delicadeza too. The yellow mobs who put PNoy in the Presidency are to blame why the Philippines is sliding down the drain of political stupidity and ineptitude in governance. His rhetorical defense of his subordinates is as bald as his head **&&&%%##. I am pissed to the bones the way the President is leading us to nowhere. 2016 is still too far away for him to step down after his term..

  13. Today’s column reminds me of the weatherman’s parting lines: “Ang buhay ay ‘weder weder’ lang. Abad and the others mentioned are in the ‘right’ “weder”! ‘Wawa naman ang Pilipinas!”