Still a powerhouse team

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Atty. Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
Still a powerhouse team
Labor Secretary Bienvenido “Benny” Laguesma, former Finance Secretary (now PSE chairman) Titoy Pardo, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, former Budget Secretary and BSP Governor Ben Diokno, Agriculture Secretary William Dar, and the author.

On April 19, 1951, the United States Congress asked Gen. Douglas MacArthur to address a joint session in recognition of his being one of that country’s greatest living military leaders.

That speech became known as the “Old Soldiers Never Die Address” because of the final lines he used, wherein he quoted an old US Army ballad: “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

Such is not the case, however, with former government officials and public servants. More often than not, they ripen with age, as another adage goes.

Despite the advancement in years, their minds and focus are still sharp — so much so that despite serving under a different president in a previous term, they are still very much capable of serving in a forthcoming term as they did in the past.

Good talent, like fine wine, should not go to waste. So long as these women and men are still willing to serve the government and the public, then why deny them and the Filipino people this opportunity?

Abraham Ko, Secretary Lenny De Jesus, incoming Labor Secretary Bienvenido “Benny” Laguesma, Titoy Pardo, the author, Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Secretary Jimmy Policarpio, and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Back in 2016, when Rodrigo Roa Duterte had just claimed victory in the national elections as the country’s chief executive, a noted political analyst in a TV interview said that he was confident that the then-presumptive President would appoint the right individuals to his Cabinet “following the example of former President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada.”

The known political scientist said that Estrada recognized that a president “cannot run the country on charisma alone” and that he needed highly competent individuals in top positions in the executive department.

He said that the Estrada Cabinet was “topnotch” because the former President recognized the value of having the best and the brightest as Cabinet members.

He also mentioned that Duterte is a veteran politician who “recognized the need for able aides.” Sure enough, President Duterte appointed topnotch individuals to his Cabinet, and some of them were former Estrada officials.

Fast-forward to today with the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his selection of topnotch individuals to become members of his Cabinet.

I am certain that PBBM recognizes the need for able and competent professionals in his administration to execute his vision for the country.

It is worthy to note that four of former President Erap’s Cabinet are set to serve under the incoming Marcos Jr. administration.

These are: Estrada-era Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who will lead the Department of Finance; former Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, who will be returning to his old Cabinet post; former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Philip Medalla, who is poised to lead the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; and Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, who was with the Presidential Management Staff in the Estrada administration and will now serve as President-elect Marcos’ Justice Secretary.

Diokno had served as BSP Governor under PRRD, while Medalla was a member of the Monetary Board. Current Education Secretary Leonor Briones was the National Treasurer under Erap, while Agriculture Secretary William Dar also held the same Cabinet post under Erap before. Current Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also worked in the Office of the President during Erap’s time.

These appointments speak volumes about the depth and gravitas of the Erap Cabinet.

I can vouch for their integrity and professionalism. I worked with them up close as Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman.

May they continue to serve the Filipino people and the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with the same competence and professionalism as they have done during the time of Presidents Estrada and Duterte.

Incoming BSP Governor Felipe Medalla and Agriculture Secretary William Dar.



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