Looking For Some Good Men

June 8 2010

Memo: To the Search Committee
From: The President

I am seeking some good and honest men for Government. Here is what I expect:

1. No entitlements – Nobody is entitled to a job just because he worked in the campaign, funded our operation, is related to me, we went to school or drank together or is Kris’ friend. Same goes for anybody who claims we once dated.
2. No superstars – Applicants flashing fancy credentials need to check them in at the door together with their egos (they invariably go hand in hand). My team has no stars. We speak with one voice, my voice.
Similarly avoid controversial candidates. I do not want to spend scarce political capital defending our choice when somebody else will do.
3. No personal agenda – Exclude anybody looking for fame, fortune, or elected office. This Administration is not about us, it is about the nation.
4. Loyalty – Candidates should be loyal first to the country, second to this Government. We will be undertaking bold initiatives that may sometimes fail. When this happens I want appointees that, if required, will offer to fall on their swords as atonement. They should not take it personally. It is just business.
5. Doers, not talkers – We will be judged not by what we say but by what we do. I want candidates that will translate PowerPoint presentations into stuff the common man can relate to. Our standard of performance should not be some economic statistic like GDP growth but whether we have tangibly improved the lives of the average Filipino. Better education, cleaner water, safer streets are not captured in the economic numbers.
6. Enforcers – Every team needs a Dennis Rodman, an enforcer that gains one respect. Find me some alpha types that will not only take on criminals but also the bureaucracy. More is lost by inefficiencies and corruption in government than by smugglers and tax evaders. We need managers that can unclog the system, battle entrenched interests, blow-off politicians. Give me some tough guys with street smarts.
7. No whiners – We inherited a mess from the last Administration but having made the point we need to move on. Don’t hire managers that will continue to dwell on the excess baggage as an excuse for non-performance.
8. Look within – One of my priorities is to rebuild the quality and morale of and pride in our civil service.  For high office, past administrations have too often bypassed long-standing civil servants in favor of outsiders. Foreign Affairs with its obscene handing out of political ambassadorships; is such an example. There are good public officials that have worked hard all their lives and now deserve their place in the sun.  Look within the ranks before looking out.
9. Lateral thinkers – I was voted in on a mandate of change, so change we must deliver. Business as usual, incremental steps no longer cut it. The nation wants daring initiatives, quantum improvements. This requires a shift in mindset: Give me candidates that will govern smarter, get more out of less, allocate our resources more intelligently, think out of the box. Give me candidates with imagination.
10. Two questions – All candidates must answer the following questions under oath: Why are they applying for public office? What difference can they make to the Filipino? Betrayal of their first answer will be subject to prosecution, failure of the second to dismissal.

To be tall, it is said, one needs to stand on the shoulders of giants.  Search Committee, find me these giants.

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About Leo Alejandrino

The blog is principally a commentary on Philippine politics and economics.
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