I differ on what I’ve read that Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno or BED, has “nestled comfortably” in a new home with a Bay window in his office overlooking the famous Manila sunset, and he is not too keen on returning back to the 501 room.
From my observation deck, such is merely a ploy and he’s playing coy. It’s a pretense. BED is a sandbagger. It’s a deliberate move to mislead the market, it’s a deception simply because his actions and reactions on developing issues speak louder.
A day after the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) followed the footsteps of the US Federal Reserve in increasing the interest rates by 25 basis points, BED issued a press release telegraphing the possibility that the BSP is “likely to take a pause” in its monetary tightening scheduled on May 18.
I get it that he’s a monetary board member, but he's acting more of a de facto governor. Isn’t he going a bit too forward? I get it as well if the journalists sought him out for his take, but issuing a press release saying the BSP has “done enough” as reported in social media platforms, online websites and major dailies, in my books, is altogether different.
Also, BED, at the height of the Silicon Valley Bank tumbling down and from what described as “not to be outdone” issued a viber group message to reporters covering the finance beat saying the country’s economy will remain unscathed.
From what I gathered, BED even called some representatives of the banking community to fill him in on the effect of the Silicon Valley financial fiasco.
The way I look at it, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla has been overshadowed by BED. Or, it is possible as well that Medalla is taking a back seat in deference to BED, his former boss. When he decided to cross over to the other side of the fence, BED put a good word for Medalla.
Now that it’s three months to go before he completes his one-year governorship, talks are rife that it is BED will do a Douglas MacArthur, crossing over again to the most desirable room, the 501.
This is highly likely because it has been observed that BED has the “Super Ate” on his side. Medalla is serving the one-year unexpired term of the late BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla, which BED assumed prior to his holding the finance portfolio.
The other protagonists for the post include Monetary Board member Peter Favila. However, the gentleman that he is, Favila, out of decency, may opt to refuse. He’s conflicted simply because his son Paul has recently been named the country head of Citi.
Now, who will be the next finance secretary should BED opt to do MacArthur? The tattle-rattle is Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso, the current president and general manager of state-pension fund Government Service Insurance System.
Remember early on in this administration, Veloso along with former Finance Undersecretary Eric Recto, now the chairman and chief executive officer of AlphaLand, was among those being considered for the post.
Exciting times ahead!
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