And then there were 3.
In less than a year, the Duterte Cabinet has seen 3 members kicked out unceremoniously, either by the President himself or by lawmakers unhappy with his choices.
Environmental advocate Gina Lopez was the second Cabinet Secretary of Duterte to be rejected by the bicameral Commission on Appointments, after the disgraced Perfecto Yasay Jr. Prior to these back-to-back setbacks, Duterte himself sacked Ismael Sueno as his interior and local government chief.
Will there be more?
All indications say so.
The case of Sueno proves the President can drop an alter ego without the basic courtesy of a dialogue, and on the basis of a whisperer’s access to the President’s ears.
The cases of Yasay and Lopez prove he’d rather allow the CA do the dirty job for him – to avoid ruffling the feathers of a friend (in Yasay’s case) or losing popularity among environmental sectors (in Lopez’s case).
The Duterte Cabinet, after all, represents the various hues and interests that propelled him to the presidency: big business, personal friends and networks, the Davao bloc, the Left, the Mindanao bloc, among others. It’s a team that clashes in ideology and worldview, one that has more heart than skills in governance – as illustrated in more ways than one by Lopez – and held together only by the bullheadedness of its leader.
People who know him from his years as mayor were not surprised by his initial picks. They told us as early as then that, given Duterte’s style, his first wave of Cabinet appointments was his channel of paying political debts. After a year, they said, we would see a “cleansed” Cabinet that will not carry the baggage of a divisive campaign, and definitely a more competent one.
We have our doubts.
This has been a government that has not stopped campaigning since it assumed power on June 30. To promote its programs and build support for them, it has dazzled its base with slogans and viciously attacked its critics with shameless name calling – no different from how it courted voters a year ago.
Now that it feels under siege from the “yellows,” biased media, and the likes of Agnes Callamard, can this presidency really afford to appoint people on the basis of competence and not loyalty or personal ties to the leader? Will it really go out of its way to let in skilled people who do not share its shortcut methods in the war on drugs, its lack of faith in media and other independent bodies such as the judiciary and the Ombudsman, and its distrust of oversight institutions in the international community?
Hope springs eternal, yes. But so do imagined fears. – Rappler.com
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