Consistency is one of the most desirable traits, in any person, more so in public officials. We should be confident that our leaders will do what they say they will do, and will remain steadfast in their decisions. Consistency is also the basis of trust. How can we trust a leader who seems to act in a manner inconsistent with his statements? “Trust actions, not words,” as the saying goes.
President Duterte has constantly maintained that he has a zero tolerance for corruption. Known to appoint those who have personal relationships with him, as friends or fraternity brothers, the President has made it clear that corruption has no place in his administration. As a result, some officials have been removed or have left office due to allegations of corrupt practices, underperformance, or a failure to fulfill their mandates.
It is quite befuddling to us why the President reappoints officials who no longer hold their positions due to underperformance or alleged involvement in corruption. This practice appears inconsistent with his zero-tolerance stand. The President won on this promise. We are right to expect follow through.
Former Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II has been recently nominated to the board of the Social Security System. SOJ was forced to resign in April after the President reportedly was disappointed with the dismissal of the drug case against drug suspects, Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and 20 others. Prior to this, former SSS board member Jose Gabriel La Viña was appointed as Tourism Undersecretary in April, and was later moved to the Department of Agriculture as Undersecretary as well. La Viña was fired in February due to abuse of public funds. Former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, who resigned in the midst of the controversial P6.4-billion “shabu” shipment last year was appointed as the Deputy Administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense just a few months after the scandal.
I agree that the President does not tolerate the misconduct of his appointees; however, I encourage him to avoid recycling dismissed officials. Furthermore, I hope that the Ombudsman would further investigate the cases of dismissed or resigned officials allegedly due to corruption, and file the necessary criminal charges to those who will be proven to have violated the law.
If the President is serious about cleaning up the government, he should rethink his decisions when it comes to his appointments. Reappointments send mixed messages. It may be better to set the highest standards in choosing his appointees from the start to avoid the “rigodon” later on.