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Metro Opinion

Recto, is it?

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

It has been going around for quite some time now that the incumbent Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno is leaving his lovely office with a bay window that gives him a stunning sunset view.

His departure, though, remains hanging, simply because nobody wants to accept the finance portfolio because of challenging economic conditions with the continuing increase in the price of basic commodities plus the hazards coming our way courtesy of the Hamas-Palestinian conflict.

Seen from my view deck is that the fuss of scouting for Diokno’s replacement has settled down. The search is over, according to my fillers roaming around town. It was gathered that Congressman Ralph Recto, known to some as Mr. Vilma Santos, yes the actress turned politician and the mother of Lucky and Ryan Christian, has reportedly accepted the post.

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Recto’s appointment should Junior not change his mind will be announced within the week. Heard that the Palace, out of respect or decency, is waiting for the return of Diokno, who is currently attending the World Bank-International Monetary Fund annual meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. He is scheduled to be here Tuesday.

Diokno is said to be moving as the chief steward of Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC) where the compensation is better than the amount he is receiving as the head honcho of DOF.

However, Commission on Audit reported, based on the Report on Salaries and Allowances, Diokno pocketed a net pay of P28.781 million in 2022, lesser than P41.812 million he received when he was governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Remember, Diokno served only for six months as governor and assumed as finance chief in July 2022.

It was said that the MIC salary scale is close to if not at par with the BSP.

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If truly Recto it is, this is not the first time he will be joining the executive branch. Best remembered in 2007 as the legislator who pushed/authored the unpopular expanded value added tax law, Recto was appointed socio-economic Planning secretary economic planning secretary and director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority in the Arroyo administration.

Now, the question is: will the market be receptive to him? This early, though, as seen from my view deck, it appears like the market has certain reservations.

To be an effective finance chief one has to have the right connection with the business community, the pulse of the market and one that has international credibility.

Having the pulse of the business is essential with the country navigating a difficult economic path with inflation and interest rate rising brought about by deteriorating geo-political conditions.

Whoever gets the view of the sunset on the fifth floor of the Finance Building needs to do a delicate balancing act to keep the economy going despite the stumbling blocks.

Will Recto make a difference this time?


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