Balancing act

>> Sunday, June 5, 2016

March L. Fianza

It is not a walk in the park. There is no doubt that for President Duterte, choosing the men and women to compose his cabinet and so-called official family is one primary puzzle that is challenging by now but may turn out to be troublesome soon, if a square peg is assigned to a round hole.
The trick is to recruit the best person that will really fit into the vacated holes, and who will sincerely try to make the lives of millions of Filipinos better than the last time they had a “Matuwid na Presidente”. Each cabinet secretary not only becomes a member of the official family but serves as the alter-ego of the President.
That may be the reason why Duterte is not yet ready to assign Vice President Leni Robredo to a cabinet post. Of course, everybody knows that VP Robredo supported an antagonist to Duterte. Understandably, she cannot be an alter-ego of the President and as of this time, cannot belong to the official family.
Giving Robredo a political appointment in Duterte’s official family will certainly spark unwelcome remarks that can “burn the house down” this early when the cabinet, aparadors, beds and furniture have yet to be positioned properly.
Duterte said he is also going to reshuffle positions in the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and personnel in the national penitentiary. As former prosecutor, he knows that lawmen who stay in one post for a long time tend to become lax and more vulnerable to corruption. In addition to improving the image of the PNP, that is one reason for the repositioning.
But never mind that the rank and file in the police organization overtake each other in terms of assignments. Anyway, being chosen as the head of a unit does not necessarily mean you are the best. In most cases, the appointment is based on trust and confidence. The appointment is not always based on merits but guided with the question “can you do the job?”
It is therefore expected that Duterte will reshuffle police personnel of police stations that performed poorly. Those to be relocated may include PNP Class 84 of PMA that adopted Mar Roxas as “mistah”, those involved in the Mamasapano and Kidapawan incidents, those assigned in the Pasay concert venue where drugs killed five teen-agers.   
Duterte said former military men will head the Department of National Defense, the Bureau of Customs and the Land Transportation Office while two professors of the University of the Philippines, namely, Leonor Briones and Benjamin Diokno will be appointed as secretaries of the Education and Budget departments, respectively. Expect Professor Briones to resolve issues in the K-12 program.
Duterte earlier yielded four cabinet posts to the communist party, namely; DSWD, DAR, DOLE and DENR of which party leaders said, nominees would not necessarily be members of the revolutionary movement as long as they are of proven integrity, pro-people, pro-poor and competent.
Over the weekend, those nominated by the party namely; UP Professor Judy Taguiwalo (DSWD) and former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano (DAR) already accepted their nominations while former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Teddy CasiƱo is expected to follow.
It is quite too early for critics to judge Duterte for his choices but I seem to agree with what he is up to, especially when he said he wants to build a nation for the next generation in peace. “I hope that by the time I step down as President, walanayung Left pati Right, walanayung Moro patilumad o Kristyano,” he said.
Duterte's selection team guaranteed that the incoming cabinet will be gender-balanced and asked him to offer posts to women and the youth.
Most of Duterte’s men are seniors and have served other presidents in the past, except for Mark Villar of the DPWH whose youthfulness is still recognizable. The other appointees are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Carlos Dominguez for Finance, Salvador Panelo as Presidential Spokesman, Mon Dacawi’s friend Manny Pinol for Agriculture, whistleblower Perfecto Yasay for Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Visaya for DND, and Arthur Tugade for DOTC.
The odd man in the list is Jesus Dureza. I say so because of a prayer he made in GM Arroyo’s cabinet in 2008. If I remember right he said, “… we pray that our President be given the good health to serve this country until 2010 and perhaps beyond…” This caused would-be presidential bets to suspect that GMA wanted a term extension.
If ever there would be someone who will destabilize the balance in Duterte’s cabinet, it could be Dureza. Watch out.
 As I write, I am listening to television news saying that the automated election system (AES) is the fastest way to get the election results. I agree, but I have to say that the AES also presses voters to ask the question “what happened to my vote?” It is also the fastest way to manipulate and cheat the voters. The vote counting machine can be manipulated and hacked.
You insert the ballot. Your vote for a certain candidate will not be included with the total number of votes yet because voting will still go on until the last voter casts his votes. This, even while a receipt that duplicated the names you voted for is shown to you. But only the devil knows where your votes went – whether they were counted in favor of your candidate, or in favor of another.
If what happened was the latter, I compare it to riding a trip on an express bus that was scheduled to travel straight from point to point. However along the way, the bus stopped, unloaded and loaded passengers (votes), took another route (changed hash code), and even changed drivers.
The express bus reached its destination alright, but this time, more passengers were unloaded – not equivalent to the original number of passengers that rode on the bus from the point of origin. Apparently, the bus driver picked up more passengers from many other places.


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