PRESIDENTS, past and present, waged their own campaigns vs corruption. All past presidents launched one under his or her watch. But sad to say every campaign resulted in failure. The reason? It became a way of life for most politicians and bureaucrats to get involved into it and the honest ones were swallowed by the system. Can you pinpoint an agency of government where corruption, big or small not committed? Corruption comes from Latin word “corruptus,” which means to break or destroy. It would mean it breaks the trust the public conferred to their leaders. The people vote for the president, and it is up for this elected head of state to form a team to deliver the services expected of him.

How does president form his Cabinet and select heads of different agencies? Under President Rodrigo Duterte, he appointed former military people, San Beda law classmates, Davaoenos and fraternity brothers. Some people don’t see anything wrong with that. We cannot even fault him if he is indeed very bias on his choices. That’s is his prerogative. You can agree or disagree but to me, the greatest raid on taxpayers’ money happened under the Duterte administration. It happened mostly during the pandemic period. You might have read it on newspaper reports and articles of known columnists. You could have followed the investigations conducted by the senate.

It might be recalled that when Ferdinand Marcos assumed the presidency after beating Diosdado Macapagal, the poor boy from Lubao in the presidential contest, he formed a search committee to recruit the best and the brightest. Unlike Duterte’s choices who are mostly from Davao, classmates, financial supporters and military people. Many are square pegs on round holes. Many are inutile even.

RETRO: It was an enviable Marcos cabinet. His executive secretaries were Alex Melchor, Rafael Salas and Ernesto Maceda among others. Secretary of Local Government was Jose Rono from Samar, Natural Resources Secretary Jose Leido was from Mindoro, Press Secretary Francisco ‘Kit’ Tatad is from Catanduanes, Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople was from Bulacan. Vicente Abad Santos, Ricardo Puno and Estelito Mendoza all served as justice secretary. They are all Capampangan.

Carlos P. Romulo of Tarlac was Foreign Affairs secretary. Ernesto Mata of Ilocos was Defense Secretary and was followed by Juan Ponce Enrile of Cagayan. Sonny Escudero of Sorsogon was agriculture secretary. Finance Secretary was Cesar Virata. There were more people who were all qualified to be holding sensitive positions in government. But sad to say, under Digong’s watch today they got the appointment because they were either Mindanaoans, classmates and former soldiers. President Duterte’s choices can’t be labeled a champion team, to say the least. Sans for few like Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, the others are mediocres.