Resignation at what cost?
To those who are calling for P-Noy’s resignation: Are you out of your minds? Rational behavior requires an action, or decision, to be “worth it”—that the extra benefits arising from that action should exceed the extra costs. I challenge them to show that this is the case in P-Noy’s resignation. I am, of course, talking about benefits and costs to the country, not to private individuals.
Off the top of my head, the major cost to the country of his resignation would be that we would have Vice President Jejomar Binay in the driver’s seat, just in time for him to ensure his election in 2016 and everything that it implies. Do we really want that?
What would be the benefit to the country? Or, put another way, would Jejomar Binay be better for us than P-Noy?
Say what you will about P-Noy, he is not at all tainted with any charge of corruption or of unexplained wealth. And he has waged an unrelenting, albeit sometimes reluctant, war against it. And the results of that war are shown by the country’s generally improved status in international indexes of corruption and overall competitiveness. Now, judging from past experience, would Jojo Binay do any better?
Have you heard of P-Noy benefiting from stock market movements or freebies from friends? Have you heard of him breaking bread with possible contractors for multimillion-peso projects, or taking cuts from winning contractors? No. And, of course, because of his unmarried state, his name has not been connected with mistresses who take advantage of his position. Can we say the same for Binay?
So what is the beef against P-Noy? Starting from his latest sins of commission or omission, he may be partially responsible for the deaths of the 44 Special Action Force commandos and the 14 “enemy” killed, plus four civilians, who are also, by the way, Filipinos. The reports of the investigation teams haven’t come out yet, but judging from the evidence presented, it is shaping up that way.
There is also the issue of his not being at Villamor Air Base when the remains of 42 of the 44 arrived, choosing rather to attend the
inauguration of a Japanese automotive plant. He was crucified for this in the media, but I attribute this lack of sensitivity on his part to his being a male, and not having a wife to tell him what counts. But he surely more than made up for this by giving them quality time during
I think what he is most guilty of in this regard is the bypassing of the chain of command (Leonardo Espina) and using a suspended officer of the Philippine National Police (Alan Purisima) in this effort. We do not know for sure whether this is true, but assuming that it is, is it enough to let Binay take over the reins of government?
There are other “sins” I have accused him of in the past four and half years. One is excessive loyalty to his friends. Purisima is one of them; he apparently saved P-Noy’s life in one of the coup attempts against the first Aquino administration. Then we must remember Rico Puno, the interior undersecretary whom he trusted more than he trusted Jesse Robredo. There was also another shooting buddy, the unlamented Virginia Torres, whom he chose over then Transportation Secretary Ping de Jesus’ objections. Negatives.
But weighed against those are the great appointments he has made: like Babes Singson of Public Works, Leila de Lima of Justice, and Kim Henares of Internal Revenue, who were not long-time friends but were chosen because of their record. Positives. Add to those such appointments as Carpio Morales as Ombudsman, Pulido-Tan and Mendoza as Commission on Audit chair and member, respectively, and Sereno and Leonen to the Supreme Court (none of whom were kabarkada or kabarilan or kaibigan either), and you’ve got a record that is hard to beat.
I last criticized P-Noy for his handling of then Health Secretary Enrique Ona. Ona was also chosen on the basis of his record. Good. But he was subsequently treated very badly, and dismissed to make space for Janette Garin, a politician. It was almost the same way he handled Gus Lagman, a good appointee whom he sacrificed in support of Sixto Brillantes at the Commission on Elections. Questionable.
I now have another criticism to level a P-Noy: Note that the three constitutional commissions—the Comelec, the COA and the Civil Service Commission—are now headless, with the Comelec also having two other vacancies in its 7-person team. And there seems, according to news reports, no sense of hurry or emergency on P-Noy’s part to fill them up. Now, that is irrational behavior on his part. The expiry of these officials’ terms were known from the date of their appointments. So three or four months before their scheduled departure, search committees should have begun head-hunting.
These are the three agencies singled out by our Constitution as independent commissions, and part of the check-and-balance system of our government. The CSC has undertaken many major reforms which should be institutionalized and continued; the COA, as well as its Citizen Participatory Audit project, has done a yeoman’s job. The Comelec hasn’t done too well, there’s the pity, and it has three vacancies that should have been filled upon the retirement of the incumbents. P-Noy’s cavalier attitude in this regard has to be severely criticized. Additionally, if he appoints persons who are identified with his political or party interests, or with personal axes to grind, then he would put at risk the credibility of the electoral system for the next seven years.
Add up all these negatives and compare them to the positives we can ascribe to P-Noy. No contest. That he has it all over his alternative—Binay—is obvious. Actually, others who are in the line of succession may not compare favorably as well. So I repeat: Are you out of your minds?
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.