Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Villar's appointment at DPWH shows a chink in Duterte's amor

While we all wait with bated breath a new administration bearing new ways of doing things, here comes a shocker--an appointment of the son of a political heavyweight engaged in infrastructure works at the very department of public works-- a post which clearly shows conflict of interest.

This is downright crass, to say the least. It also shows malleability on the part of presumptive president Rody Duterte. Everyone thought and expect him to be a principled leader, one who will not or never compromise the welfare of the people in exchange for politics.

The appointment of Mark Villar---son of real estate developer Manny Villar---is a clear indication that Duterte knows how to "play the game" and he would do so at the expense of the many. I doubt if Duterte does not know that the Villars are engaged in real estate development and infrastructure works. They haven't changed business for the past several decades or so. Appointing such a man, even if he is highly qualified for the post, is clearly a downer.

Duterte would probably defend himself by saying that he needs the Nacionalista Party, a party now controlled by the Villars, because, without the Party's support, it is unclear whether he can do what he's supposed to do as President. Is the people's support not enough for him--that he stands ready to kowtow to an oligarch such as Villar?

Now, if this thing happened, expect more of this to happen in the next few days. Unfortunately, Duterte is showing early signs of playing ball with Big Business, and compromising his pact with the people. Remember how Duterte lambasted the oligarchs at the top of his voice, every single time in his campaign? Remember how Duterte blamed these oligarchs for the present ills of Philippine society? Now, here he is, enjoying every single moment hob-nobbing with them, acting like royalty before them, while these Oligarchs fete him with honors and coax him with praise. See those photos? Duterte is enjoying the attention so much, he clearly is not considering himself anymore as an "ordinary Filipino"---but probably a king?

Of course, these things should be temporal. I still give him the benefit of the doubt. There is still time for Duterte to correct this appointment of Villar to DPWH. However, if Duterte persists, then, there is simply no reason why I will not believe the following things to happen in the next few days:

1. For Lito Banayo, who was accused of smuggling rice into the country, to replay what he did on a bigger scale either as head of the Bureau of Customs or re-assume his post at the NFA.

2. For Hermogenes Esperon to become the nation's top security adviser or at least become head of a law enforcement agency.

3. For political has-beens and the possible of recycling government officials of previous administration. They had their time and they evidently bungled it--why give them positions in government when at that time they were serving they failed in their jobs.

4. For Duterte to say something concrete one way, then change it the minute after. Duterte says he will give the DA posts to the Left then in a surprise revelation yesterday, the DA post went to Manny Pinol, a close associate. Probably Duterte's camp realized that DA is a most sensitive and most lucrative department.

Again, there is still time, Mr. Duterte, to do what is Right and shun what is Wrong. The people expect so much from you. Do not fail them. Otherwise, be ready to be lynched.