Dear President Aquino,

I wrote you a letter when it first became apparent that you had won the elections for the highest post of the land. This week, I saw you take your oath, formalizing your entry into that office.

Not only you, but the entire Filipino nation, proudly took that oath of office with you.

Mr. President, back then when you ran for office, we were in desperate need for change. Today as you take over, that need is even more acute.

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You take over a government whose own existence became a symbol of everything that is wrong with our land. Its officials were mired in all manner of scandal and corruption. The deals it entered into in behalf of the nation were questionable and full of irregularities, and by the time the former president walked out of her official residence on Wednesday, it was like a giant cross had been lifted off the collective shoulders of this Filipino nation.

But take heed Mr. President, and don't let this happen to you too. In the Philippines, and even your mother knew this in her time, political appointments are treated as prizes to be won, and many of those appointed soon have a field day ransacking their dominions in order to benefit their own pockets.

I know you mean well and have this country's interests at heart, but I do not know that all your people are similarly inclined.

During your inauguration, we saw some recycled faces along with the new ones you have brought in. Look closely at each of them, and keep them close to you. Watch over their every move, and at the first sign of wrongdoing, do not hesitate to part with their company.

I will make special mention of your Number Two, for he is only a heartbeat away from the seat that you currently occupy.

We know the man has ambition, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. However, only hours from being himself inaugurated into office, he has already acted as if preparing for the next elections in 2016. His choice of a cabinet position to administer makes this very clear. Make no mistake about it, he wants to control the machinery, this early in the game, that will guarantee him your position the next time around.

Had he been a man of spotless integrity, his machinations may be easier to let pass. But there are so many doubts about his character, his actions must always be suspected of being self-serving. So give him responsibility, but at the same time, make sure that it is not something that will give him a platform for launching his own personal ambitions.

Your call for investigations into abuse of privilege by former officials is commendable. Yes, the former administration had people who became personally wealthy at the expense of the nation. Make them pay for their sins, so that your own will know that it is not for them to dip their fingers into the national cookie jar. And while at it, look at your own Number Two as well.

See what properties he has, and have it assessed whether as the executive of a premier city, he would have been able to accumulate such largesse. The people will appreciate you for it.

More next week.

(http://asbb-foreignexchange.blogspot.com & http://twitter.com/asbbatuhan)