Loyalty To Die For

You just have to love the hubris.

DILG UnderSecretary Rico Puno, the one secretly in charge of the bungled hostage rescue attempt, told the Inquirer he will never leave the President. “I am willing to take a bullet for him. Why should I abandon him now of all times? I never leave anyone”.

Wow. Rambo himself could not have put it better.

Imagine, totally screwing up a rescue attempt and then spending sleepless nights pondering whether to leave his boss behind to take the rap.

Well, have you considered, sir, that it might be President  that should be  doing the abandoning rather than the other way around?  As for never leaving anyone, we suggest you take that up with the families of the eight deceased hostages. They may not feel quite the same way you do.

How does the Search Committee come up with such people for high office? Where do these guys come from that they think they are so indispensable to the President?

In the case of UnderSecretary Puno from UP Los Banos where he earned a degree in Agricultural Economics. This, one would have thought, makes him eminently qualified to run the Dept. of the Interior (in case you are confused, Secretary Robredo only runs the Local Government part of DILG), arguably the most powerful and sensitive Cabinet position.

And if an agricultural degree is not sufficient, add the fact that Puno is a shooting buddy of President Aquino, to round out his qualifications. Puno shoots guns, the police shoot guns, that should be sufficient reason to put Puno in charge. Why are you laughing?

Mr. Puno is the founder of Far East Ballistics Co., a company that imports bullets and gun parts. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt because “most of the bullets we imported we used up in the shooting range because of my passion for shooting,” Mr. Puno admitted, somewhat amused. Obviously his business judgment is not any better than his hostage rescuing judgment.

One wonders how much of that same passion for shooting drove the rescuers to prematurely open up on the hostage taker, triggering the mayhem.

When questioned about his qualifications for his position, Mr. Puno replied, sincerely perplexed: “ I don’t know what kind of qualifications are needed for the position.” He pointed out that Ex-President Gloria had appointed her gardener and her manicurist to important Government positions. We are heartened  he identifies himself with them even though Undersecretary for the Interior is slightly more important than those accorded GMA’s household help.

Mr. Puno does, to his credit,  raise the ultimately more important issue of the criteria used by the Search Committee for Government appointments. What qualified Mr. Puno to be appointed DILG undersecretary? It appears that sharing the same hobbies as the President is one, being his buddy is another.

There is nothing wrong with having your friends in key positions.  You know their  character and habits. You know they will be loyal to the point as in Mr. Puno’s case of not abandoning you when they mess up on a job.

Unfortunately, this is not enough. Competence and sound judgment are also kind of important. We just hope it does not take another eight people to die before this point sinks in.

In the meantime, I would suggest that rather than so nobly taking the bullet for the President, Mr. Puno take the less painful (for himself) but more useful step for the nation of simply resigning.

I would also, if his interview with the Inquirer is any indication, refrain from any more speaking engagements. For one so proficient in weaponry, publicly shooting himself -again- in the foot is not the way to go.

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About Leo Alejandrino

The blog is principally a commentary on Philippine politics and economics.
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One Response to Loyalty To Die For

  1. Eduardo Cu Unjieng says:

    You’re spot on with this one, Leo.

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