Leni Robredo

Gov’t appointments should be based on merit, not favors – Robredo

Aika Rey
Gov’t appointments should be based on merit, not favors – Robredo

BASED ON MERIT. Vice President Leni Robredo held a consultation meeting with the leaders of various transport groups from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog in her office at Quezon City Reception House on Friday, October 9, 2020.


As President Rodrigo Duterte admits to appointing people in government to 'repay debts,' Vice President Leni Robredo says appointments should be based on qualifications and competency

As anomalous pandemic purchases made by Duterte appointees were being investigated, Vice President Leni Robredo said that she would make appointments based on merit if she were President.

Robredo was asked about how she would appoint officials in a Rappler Talk interview on Friday, September 3.

“Based on merit,” she answered. “Hindi ito ‘yung pag nag-presidente ka and may vast appointing powers, hindi ito magbibigay ka ng favors left and right. Dahil ang obligasyon mo sa taumbayan, ang obligasyon mo na ang i-appoint mo, competent. Competent. Qualified. Sa akin, secondary sakin ‘yung kaibigan mo kasi [o] tinutulungan ka kasi.”

(Not because you are the President, and you have vast appointing powers, you would repay favors left and right. It is because you have an obligation to the people, that those who will be appointed are competent. Competent. Qualified. For me, appointing just because of friendship or because they helped you during the campaign is a secondary priority.)

Gov’t appointments should be based on merit, not favors – Robredo

The Senate blue ribbon committee launched an investigation into the alleged anomalous purchases made by the Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for the Department of Health. Resigned DBM undersecretary and PS-DBM chief Lloyd Christopher Lao was at the center of controversies.

In an August 27 Senate hearing, senators tried to zero in on Lao’s connection to the President, Senator Bong Go, and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, the supplier of overpriced face masks and personal protective equipment.

On Tuesday, August 31, President Rodrigo Duterte defended the appointment of people from Davao City. His exact words were, “Ano masama kung magbayad ako ng utang? (What’s wrong if I repaid debts?)

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Robredo on Friday said she was “shocked” when she heard the President admit the appointments were mere favors repaid.

“Na-shock ako na the President himself admitted na favors. Parang favors dispensed.… Para pakinggan si Presidente na sinasabi ‘nya, na ina-admit ‘nya na, ‘Gan’yan naman talaga eh’ – na ‘yong nga tumulong sa eleksyon o kasama mo sa Davao ‘yan ang i-appoint mo. Para sa akin, secondary [priority] ‘yan eh,” Robredo told Rappler.

(I was shocked when the President himself admitted that these were favors. It’s like favors dispensed. To listen to the President admitting that ‘That’s just how it is’ – that those who helped you during the campaign or those who were with you in Davao would be appointed. For me, that’s only a secondary priority.)

Her legacy: Professionalizing OVP

During the interview, Robredo was asked about what she thought was her legacy, months away from stepping down.

Aside from being able to “do more with less,” Robredo said that professionalizing the Office of the Vice President (OVP) was among her biggest achievements.

Gov’t appointments should be based on merit, not favors – Robredo

“I will be leaving behind a highly professional and highly dedicated workforce,” said Robredo.

“I always say that the OVP runs because of them. That even if they leave for another office, employers will be fighting over them when they know that they came from the OVP. Because it’s been known that anyone who comes from the OVP is highly competent,” she added. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.