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Metro Opinion

With Reservations

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

While we were glued to the TV screen as the presumptive president unveils his most important appointments – the composition of his economic team – my phone kept vibrating, inundated with queries on what’s happening.

In the environment world, recycling is now in vogue. This topic is trending as environmentalists make their pitch to reduce, if not altogether prevent the further degradation of mother earth.

In the political arena, the word recycling for an ardent political observer leaves a sour (not bad) taste in the mouth. Nope, it’s not a question of expertise or abilities of the incomings. Though, I must admit I have reservations with some.


For instance, the tapping Management Association of the Philippines Governor Alfredo E. Pascual, 73, as incoming trade and industry secretary is definitely a very good choice. I marvel how he transformed the part of UP Diliman into a bustling commercial center, pouring in millions of pesos of much needed revenues to the coffers of the state university through private sector partnership.

I’ve no doubt he, a banker and a finance guru, can very well market the Philippines abroad as an alternative investment haven. This is not to mention that he is an advocate of good governance, an issue that hangs like a Sword of Democles to the incoming.

UP Professor Felipe “Philip” Medalla, a hardcore, dye-in-the-wall economist, is a good recycled choice, considering that he has been a monetary board member since 2011 and was reappointed in 2017 for another six-year term. His moving up left a vacancy in the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which by the life of me I cannot comprehend why the presumptive calls the head of the bank of all banks in the country as “president.”

Back to the issue at hand, rumour has it that the queue is long on Medalla’s replacement. Included in the list is the president of Philippine National Bank Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso. Wick’s name has been floated as the successor of Ramon Lopez as well as the next finance secretary. The stint, though, like Medalla will only be one year as whoever will be the chosen one will only serve the unexpired term of the late governor Nestor Espenilla that was vacated by Benjamin E. Diokno transfer to the DOF.

While he is an economist and used to hold the portfolio of budget and management, I have certain reservations on this DOF transferee. It brings to mind the so-called “shoes box” incident. I understand, wisdom and deep comprehension of financial issues he has, but it would have been swell, from my viewpoint, if there’s some kind of injection or pumping-in of young blood into the department.

DOF has been missing the element of spring chickens for quite some time now – in the molds of Jose Isidro N. Camacho and Cesar Purisima, who’s name was on the list which for the life of me again, cannot understand as he was the convenor of the infamous Hyatt 10.

Pumping-in young blood at the Department of Budget and Management, Tourism as well as at the Department of Public Works and Highways with the appointment of Amenah Pangandaman, provincial politician Christina Frasco and Manny Bonoan, respectively is a bit of a welcome. 


In my humble opinion, Bonoan is suitable for the position, considering that he’s not foreign in the department. Definitely, he would be able to fill-in or surpass the infrastructure projects implemented by incoming Senator Mark Villar. One should only take a look at the traffic improvement in the SLEX courtesy of SMC Tollways, which he heads.

Pangandaman, like Bonoan in DPWH, is a DBM balikbayan. She was undersecretary with Diokno as her boss. She was given the assistant governor position, the highest ever accorded to a transferee or is it because it's considered lateral move, as Diokno's head executive assistant. 

As a vanguard of press freedom, I have reservations simply because from my analysis, the loop is now sealed. End to end.    

For comments and feedbacks, email me at



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