Sen. Panfilo Lacson cannot be any righter in saying that the appointments of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas as interior and local government secretary (vice Jesse Robredo) and of Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya to replace Roxas in the Department of Transportation and Communications are perfect (Inquirer, 8/31/12).
An economist by education, a seasoned legislator and, once upon a time, a very effective trade and industry secretary, among others, Roxas is without doubt the most qualified person to step into the truly “large tsinelas” left by Robredo. On the other hand, Representative Abaya, an engineer and lawyer by profession, carries with him the vigor and idealism of youth—qualities that are indeed essential in infusing fresh ideas and broader perspectives into probably the most problematic agency of the government at this time: the Department of Transportation and Communications.
Both Roxas and Abaya have relatively untarnished records as lawmakers. As such, they certainly need not suffer Robredo’s fate before the Commission on Appointments, whose members practically ignored—nay, virtually belittled—his qualifications to the DILG post for two long years, then revered him as a hero and elevated him to high heavens when he died in an accident. But that is, of course, now plain history and beside the point, though necessarily leaving a bad taste in most people’s mouth.
The more important point is for Roxas to be better able not only to help President Aquino steer through the much ballyhooed straight path in governance, but also to resume paving his own path to the presidency, which he had momentarily sidelined in 2010. For Abaya, the challenge is even greater: to better address the multifarious problems that Roxas, notwithstanding his spectacular capabilities, has left unsolved—prompting citizens, who grew impatient and desperate about the DOTC’s continuing failure to fulfill its bounden responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, to file a class suit against him. That class suit is now hopefully already moot; what is certainly not is for Abaya to prove his worth.
That said, I join the whole nation in congratulating Roxas and Abaya and wishing them all the luck there is in Planet Earth—plus a stronger degree of political will, which they will very direly need as they respectively take on newer fields in public service.
—RUDY L. CORONEL,