“Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.” Margaret Chase Smith
By Alex P. Vidal
The government is still arguably the biggest employment agency in the country. Massive hiring and recruitment occur after the electoral process. Many of those who campaigned hard for certain elected officials expect instant political payback in the form of job hire–for themselves or for relatives and friends.
Since many elected officials are beholden to certain political, business, and religious sectors, they have no choice but to accommodate the horde of job seekers who carry recommendation letters from power brokers and so-called “kingmakers.” An elected official’s failure to act on the request would mean an earful of scolding for being “ingrate” and “inconsiderate.” Thus the dilemma of elected politicians. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t.
Like a father in a big family, Iloilo City Mayor Patrick Jed Mabilog is hard-pressed to defend his appointment and reappointment of some of his political acolytes who either want to cling to their posts like leeches and take advantage of the pelf and privileges that go with their positions, or are adamant to join the less-exciting private sector.
Under the law, Mabilog–or any head of local government for that matter–has the prerogative to choose his family in the executive branch; and those who enjoy his trust and confidence are shoo-in for any co-terminus portfolio.
As long as public funds are judiciously spent and public service is not hampered, it will be a walk in the park for these appointees once their marching papers are forwarded to the City Council, the legislative branch, for confirmation.
The mayor’s awesome power, influence and authority will camouflage these appointees from censure and bureaucratic obloquy given the overwhelming pragmatism that saturates city hall’s political environment.
Not all appointees, however, deserve to be in the executive branch. There are misfits who are carry overs from the past administration trying to worm their way back to the cookie jar and are in mad scramble to corner juicy appointments for the love of perks and aroma of taxpayers money.
Some of these ruffians, albeit having shown canine loyalty over the past years, are giving the mayor the dilemma whether to renew their appointments or discard them for good. Even if the mayor doesn’t want their faces a minute longer inside the executive office due to past misdemeanors and lousy performances, they nonetheless continue to queue for job.
The mayor can’t just pretend they exist only in his imagination. Even Julius Caesar had to retain a scalawag and a bastard in the Roman Empire. Although some of them have already tendered their “courtesy” resignation (this is a protocol in public service) to give their appointing boss the leverage to replenish and reorganize his squadron, many of them actually are still salivating to regain their seats. There is no life outside city hall.
On the brighter side, just in case Mayor Mabilog will make a mistake of recruiting back and buttressing his team with druggles and scumbags, he shouldn’t make a mistake of missing some important advisers, real assets and team players who will really help him run his administration smoothly in the next three years.
Two of them are the now retired public information chief Amante “Boy” Espejo Jr. , who is a performer and not a talker, and Dr. Perla S. Zulueta, the most experienced and most competent former member of the Iloilo provincial board and Iloilo city council. The public sector is also a rich source of noble men and women where Mayor Mabilog can recruit some of his worthy assistants as the city reaffirms its grandeur and glory years under the Mabilog administration.