One of the big stories of 2023 that encompasses the political and business horizon was the appointment of Presidential Adviser for Investment and Economic affairs Frederick Go as the country’s economic czar.
He’s known in the business and political circles as “Deck.”
As I went around town to conduct a cursory survey of what's happening in the aftermath of the country’s Christmas celebration and the preparation for the coming New Year, I suddenly was halted with the buzz going around the web about Deck’s appointment and its trickle through effect.
Trickle through because his appointment has both a trickle down and trickle up effects. It brought changes not in society but in Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC), where he has been the head honcho the past 30 years.
Deck has to give up as well his directorship in more than ten companies –
Manila Electric Co., Cebu Pacific Air to name a few.
Unlike his one-peso a year position as presidential adviser, this time around he has to resign his RLC job because a government official is prohibited from having double work.
Stepping up to the vacuum is cousin Lance Gokongwei, who already has so much on his plate as President and Chief Executive Officer of JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; chairman of Robinsons Supermarket Corporation, Universal Robina Corporation, Robinsons Land Corporation, Altus Property Ventures, Inc., JG Summit Olefins Corporation, and Robinsons Bank Corporation. Whew!
Allow me to fill-you-in on this – section 117, Rule XII of the 2017 Omnibus Rules on Appointment and Other Human Resources Actions state, among others, that “No appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the government unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his/her position."
Least I may be misinterpreted here, the fact is Deck has to forego his position as RLC president and chief executive officer to avoid any possible influences that may occur in drawing up decisions as the country’s economic czar.
His new position, likewise, has trickled down because it brought changes in the economic team hierarchy. Under the existing set-up, it’s incumbent Finance secretary Benjamin E. Diokno with Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman as members.
This simply means that House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto, who has reportedly accepted the finance portfolio and will be coming in sometime January next year vice Diokno, will just be relegated to be a member.
Deck’s assumption as the economic czar solicited both positive and negative reactions. His charisma is a welcome balm in Junior’s administration.
However, some expressed apprehension considering that he comes in carrying a secretary position without passing through the gauntlet of the Commission on Appointments (CA) compared to Diokno, Balisacan and Pangandaman.
Remember, the investment and economic affairs office with the rank of secretary was created under Executive Order 49. The hanging question is will Deck have the same accountability, in terms of ethics and governance with CA-approved Cabinet members?
My fill? With his impeccable, flawless background, I believe he will.
Move over Superman, SuperDeck is coming.
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