Thursday, August 05, 2021

Sangil: De Jesus, Mendoza and Ople

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I HAVE been a media person three fourths of my life. I always tell my friends that I have seen it all. There are few outstanding officials in government I can safely say I respect and have high regards. When I say few, it means I don’t have to remove my shoes to proceed in counting after my fingers are done. I am not talking here about politicians no are mostly corrupt but government people who once upon a time were department secretaries, underlings and agency heads. For a start, I can list in book our cabalen, Jose "Ping" De Jesus who held positions like Education undersecretary, cabinet secretary, Department of Public Works and Highways secretary, Department of Transportation and Communication secretary and last was chairman of the Clark Development Corporation. He came out clean. No stain.


John Grisham should write about a book Estelito Mendoza. He is a super lawyer. His many court appearances may bring a suspenseful story. He is what you may want to call as a lawyers’ lawyer. He was in the Marcos cabinet as solicitor general and then secretary of justice. There was never an instance that he abused his powerful positions. His clients maybe run afoul against the law, but the attorney’s oath is to provide representation. He was Pampanga governor for some good years, and never he pocketed a single centavo from the abundant quarry proceeds, unlike someone you and I know.

Blas F. Ople was one of kind. He entered government a poor man and died describe-ably a pauper even after 40 years in government. His house in Quezon City was built out of borrowed funds from the Government Service Insurance System. When he died he wasn’t able to complete his amortization. It was saved from being foreclosed because President Joseph Estrada paid the balance. Ka Blas was labor secretary for the longest time during the Marcos administration. It was he who initiated the opening of the labor market in the Middle East. Recruitment agencies mushroomed and made bundles of money from service fees. He was elected assemblyman in a regional elections for the interim Batasan Pambansa. Elected senator and became senate president. He died while in a foreign mission as foreign affairs secretary. Try to look around, right, left, front and back. Do you know any senator or senators who were as poor as Ka Blas when entered public service and now are billionaires?

They have delicadeza Virginia. And talking about Virginia, do you still remember her, the late Virginia Torres? God bless her soul. She was President Noynoy Aquino’s shooting buddy. She served as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications and chief of Land Transportation Commission. She hogged the headlines because of reportedly failed transaction at the Bureau of Customs. Ping de Jesus, her boss at the DOTC asked her to resign. Did you know the reason why our kabalen De Jesus resigned as secretary of DOTC. That was when he was turned down by Pnoy when he was trying to dismiss and show the door to Torres . President Noynoy picked Torres over De Jesus. Our cabalen didn’t stay a minute longer in his post. He resigned. Our question: Are there still people in the government bureaucracy like them?


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