“(T)he individual members of the CA should also explain why those who are doing so are blocking particular appointees and appointments.”
by Ducky Paredes
I realize that, on paper, the reappointment of cabinet members who have been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) is very bad form, especially when these have been bypassed over and over again. At the same time, I find it hard to see why the following have been rejected over and over again:
Raul Gonzalez (justice), Angelo Reyes (energy), Hermogenes Ebdane (public works), Nasser Pangandaman (agrarian reform), Rolando Andaya Jr. (budget), Joselito Atienza (environment), Ronaldo Puno (interior), Margarito Teves (finance) and Francisco Duque Jr. (health).
The way that it looks, these gentlemen are being targeted simply because of politics. They are identifiable as some of Gloria Arroyo’s favorite people and, thus, this places them high up on the list of those who cannot ever be granted the favor of what is essentially a political judgment –the consent of the politicians who compose the Commission on Appointments.
While it is true that it is incumbent on the President not to re-appoint those who have been bypassed by the CA for a particular post, it also behooves the gentlemen who comprise the CA to speak out their explanation when they bypass these appointees.
The way that the system works, the President, who is the appointing power, would go out on a limb for her appointees. She would ordinarily talk to the individual members of the CA to explain and convince that member why the particular appointee ought to be confirmed in the position to which he has been appointed.
Thus, it is difficult to understand why we must go through this rigmarole so late in the day for Gloria Arroyo’s presidency, which is already starting on its eighth year. The CA is not supposed to work that way. If there is no good reason for the non-confirmation of an appointee, he ought to be passed. If the appointee and the appointing power must submit to confirmation by the CA, it is also incumbent on the CA to confirm when there is nothing to block that appointment. This is the way it is in normal governments.
While politics does play some part in the process, it should not be all politics.
Thus, one would think that the individual members of the CA should also explain why those who are doing so are blocking particular appointees and appointments. If these appointees have committed indiscretions or crimes, shouldn’t we be told about what they did and why that act disqualifies them from appointment to any position in government? If they are unfit for a particular position, in the minds of their objectors, again, don’t we have a right to be told what this is?
If the objectors block these appointments without any explanation, the only conclusion that we can have is that this is all politics and the CA is depriving these men of its consent simply out of spite or, worse, because these appointees have not coughed up the amount that members of the CA expect to feel in their pockets before they will be disposed to giving their consent.
While it is incumbent on the appointing power not to re-appoint (over and over again) her appointees who have been bypassed several times, it is also incumbent on the individual members of the CA to explain their individual objections to these appointees.
Otherwise, lacking that explanation, we, in the general public, can only speculate that the objections must be for the most crass of reasons by power-hungry or greedy-for-money politicians.
* * *
The salaries that government pays its personnel will never be right unless some kind of scheme is adopted whereby government men are put on the same footing as their counterparts in private business and internationally.
This is something that former Civil Service commission Head Karina David was shooting for. Sadly, the idea of the politicians in the legislature and in the executive arm of government would rather do what they perceive to be the politically correct move of increasing everyone’
s salary yearly.
This only exacerbates the problem. With each increase, the government’s specialists – doctors, nurses, air traffic controllers and such personnel find themselves further away from what their fellows earn outside of the Philippines government. At the same time, the expendables of the government service – the clerks, janitors and others in government service who do jobs that can be done more easily and efficiently by machines and/or computers find themselves getting superior pay as compared to those of their ilk outside government.
The government is driving away the specialists and keeping those who are typically hired because they have been recommended by their congressmen or other government officials who do menial or near-menial jobs.
For instance, an air traffic controller who is charged with keeping planes from colliding with each other in Philippine air space and guiding them home for landing in our airports, is getting peanuts compared to those who work in airports in other countries.
Our lowest ranking Philippine air controller receives P17,000 a month while his regional counterpart in Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan gets an average of P45,000 a month; a chief air controller elsewhere in the Asian region receives P200,000 a month while his Philippine counterpart takes home only P26,000 a month.
* * *
“While some officials formalistically deny that being on the order of battle constitutes being classified as an enemy of the state, the widespread understanding even among the political elite is that it constitutes precisely that.” – Philip Alston, United Nations Rapporteur.
# # # #
hvp (12.28.07)Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org