No untouchables in the bureaucracy

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not really against development-oriented career administrators providing use with competent and faithful service in the bureaucracy, which is the mandate of the Career Executive Service (CES).

And I support  President Aquino’s pronouncement that managing the bureaucracy should be professionalized through the career executive service officers (CESO) who are part of  the third level or the managerial class in the group of career positions in the Philippine Civil Service.

No, I’m not even questioning roots of the CES, although we all know that it was one of the instruments in effectively controlling the bureaucracy by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos when he signed Presidential Decree No. 1 after declaring martial law in 1972. The decree provided a “continuing pool of well-selected and development-oriented administrators who shall provide competent and faithful service.”

Now, the CESO leadership it is composed of an eight-man board, which includes  Civil Service Commission (CSC) chair   Francisco Duque, who was, incidentally, appointed to his current shortly before the ban on appointments by former President Gloria Arroyo in preparation for the presidential election last May. The fair-haired Duque wasn’t part of the “ midnight ” appointees since he reportedly quit his post as health secretary before the ban. Never mind Duque, like all of the CES board members. They were remnants, anyway, of the Arroyo administration.

I’m not even questioning the rank concept of the process for qualifying as a CESO, who is appointed to rank and only assigned to a CES position. As such, he can only be re-assigned or transferred from one CES position to another and from one office to another but not oftener than once every two years. The CES is like the Armed Forces and the Foreign Service where the officers are also appointed to ranks and assigned to positions.

In  her  nine years in power, President Arroyo would have surely “professionalized” the status of her favored officials in government, who are now claiming that they are CESO and should not be fired—or replaced, by new appointees.

But   President Aquino is being tagged by his critics as a “waiting lord”, simply because his critics think he was having a difficulty reorganizing the bureaucracy.

The PNoy  even amended Memorandum Circular No. 1 which now  extends the “period for non-CESOs occupying CES positions to remain in office from July 31, 2010 to October 31, 2010 or until their resignations have been accepted, and/or until their respective replacements have been appointed or designated whichever comes first, unless they are reappointed in the meantime.”

That is what Mr. Aquino gets for trying to respect the mandate of the CES. He should be  aware that not all  the people who were supposedly running the bureaucracy with the ranks of CESOs were angels in government.

After October, Mr. Aquino should finally determine if he would continue to respect the CESO mandate while weeding the monsters in the bureaucracy.

It will be best that Mr. Aquino eases out CESOs who got their so-called ranks  because they were favored in the previous administration or were deadwoods  that had time to study and improve his CESO status while floating in his position.  I don’t think they should continue to become untouchables in government. They have to go like all those undesirables who contributed to the plunder of the bureaucracy. Joel Paredes


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