#AnimatED: Lesson in leadership

Strengthening institutions, not ties to friends, is key

In 2 weeks, President Benigno Aquino III steps down. By June 30, he would have served the country 6 years as our Constitution allows only a single term of office. 

Aquino leaves a mixed legacy. The positives include:

On the downside, we saw:

In a recent interview with Rappler, Aquino explained that he kept his ally, Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, despite his epic lapses because he is “not corrupt.” (Watch the Aquino interview here)

This is a key lesson for incoming President-elect Rodrigo Duterte: building and strengthening institutions, not ties to friends, is central to effective governance.

Aquino’s and Duterte’s rhetoric on this subject is similar. “Friendship stops when the country’s interest is at stake,” Aquino told Rappler.

Duterte phrased it this way: “My loyalty to you as a friend ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” He was addressing his decades-old friend and benefactor Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who was miffed that he wasn’t apparently consulted on early appointments to the cabinet. 

In Aquino’s case, loyalty to his friends remained a weakness during his term. We are witnessing the same with Duterte who hasn’t even assumed office yet. 

The most vivid example is his avowed friendship with defeated vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. This is the reason he seems bent on marginalizing Vice-President elect Leni Robredo, she who has a popular mandate.

He has not given her the courtesy of a meeting – which he already did with Marcos. He is not tapping her for a cabinet post despite her pronounced advocacies to help uplift the poor – a campaign promise Duterte made.

The president-elect’s “loyalty to the country” versus sustaining friendships with members of his cabinet and other appointees will be tested in the coming years. How will Duterte decide when his friends are caught in conflict-of-interest situations? perform poorly? are corrupt? 

The lesson from the Aquino years is as clear as day. – Rappler.com