Franklin Drilon is an honorable man

DIRECT FROM THE MIDDLE EAST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

We are saddened to hear of the plunder charge against the Senate President. In these times of uncertainty and much confusion, when we cannot tell anymore who is really true and who is fake, we can still say boldly and without fear of contradiction that Franklin Drilon is an honorable man. We both worked in the DOLE although at different times and holding different positions. I started as a casual employee and retired as Undersecretary. He started as Undersecretary and ended as DOLE Secretary, Justice Secretary, and Executive Secretary.  He is one of those guys who come from the province (Iloilo) who made good in Manila by sheer talent, competence, and impeccable character.

In all those years that we watched Drilon rise in his career, we have nothing but admiration for him, and even awe at his brilliance and integrity. He has always been decent and respectable. His name has never been linked to any anomaly. He had the full trust of President Marcos and also of President Cory Aquino and President FVR. He was a Bar topnotcher and married a fellow lawyer from UP, the late Violy Calvo-Drilon. They worked together in the firm, the ACCRA, one of the most respected law firms in the country. Drilon made a name for himself when he lawyered for San Miguel Corporation, Nestle and Atlas Mining, then the biggest copper mining company in Asia, and hundreds of other top companies in the country. He is now married to Mila, a friend of Violy and a very gracious lady.

In the mid eighties when our DOLE Secretary was the late Bobbit Sanchez (a Mabini lawyer like Jojo Binay, Joker Arroyo, and Rene Saguisag), the business community was quite apprehensive that the Secretary's pro-labor stance and anti-business biases would wreak havoc at the fledgling economy. Thus the business sector that the employers should be represented in the DOLE to provide balance in the unorthodox and often radical decisions of secretary Bobbit. And so, Franklin Drilon was nominated to become DOLE Undersecretary. He was going to make a big sacrifice in terms of income. If it is money that principally motivates him, he should have refused to join the government and rose higher as a corporate lawyer. There are a few honest men in government. And Frank Drilon is one of them,

Franklin is a man who knows when to put aside his own comforts and convenience in order to heed the summon to serve his country. He accepted a job that pays less than 10% of what he must have been earning as ACCRA's number one industrial relations lawyer. He served the DOLE honestly and well, and acted as a mature balancing mechanism that gave assurance to the business community and the investors in the country. That and his impeccable credentials were more than enough to convince both President Cory and FVR to entrust to him the portfolios of DOLE, DOJ, and as Little President when he served as Executive Secretary. That also endeared him to the people who elected him senator a number of times.

And so, this charge of plunder does not have any grain of truth, to all of us who know Franklin Drilon well. It was Drilon who led the building of schoolhouses at about 25% of what they usually cost based on SOP. It was Drilon who led the building of many halls of justice all over the country. It was Drilon who handled many high profile cases that involve multi-million financial implications, and his name was never tainted by any shade of doubt, not even suspicion. It is very easy to accuse, very easy to malign a good name and destroy the reputation of men and women. But can they prove all these? In the meanwhile, the reputation of a good man is being subjected to undue aspersion. I can feel the anguish and the pains. But, no, they cannot put a good man down. Never.



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