What will happen to Basiliso M. Sungcad, Jr.?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

To the victors belong the spoils, and the vanquished should start packing their bags. But what happens to those who deserve to be retained? Should the winners wipe them all away? I feel bad for the small people who are the true engines behind the public service the Capitol provides.

I'm sure not many of you have heard of this guy I call Basil and others refer to as “Bopep.” He is currently a senior staff of outgoing Vice Governor Agnes Magpale. He was my chief of staff when I was DOLE undersecretary and I trusted him with very sensitive matters involving big labor cases. He is an excellent speechwriter and document analyst and can express himself with confidence. I delegated to him most of my incoming and outgoing correspondence, even those involving international matters. When I was deployed to Taiwan, Kuwait, and Malaysia, Basil left DOLE and joined the staff of then board member Magpale.

Today, Basil doesn’t know what will happen to him after Magpale lost to Gwen Garcia. He doesn’t expect to be retained. Actually, Basil represents hundreds, if not thousands of similarly-situated employees in the Capitol. Politics is politics and Garcia has her own competent and loyal followers who expect to be rewarded for their hard work. Chances are that Basil will be eased out and lose his job. What will happen to him and his children who are in college? That is a problem bothering me now.

You see, Basil and I are from Ronda. In the past we weren’t allies in the same political party, but I hired him because I believed in his competence, character, commitment, and conscientiousness. Politics is not vital to me when I choose people in my inner circle. When I was vice president for HR and legal of Pepsi-Cola Philippines, I also hired his elder brother, Atty. Jesus Ramil Sungcad, now the highest-paid legal executive in the Seventh District. Ramil had zero experience in HR and Labor Law when I got him in 1997. I trained, mentored, and guided him all the way. Now, he is a Labor Law Professor in USJ-R and a successful law practitioner. Today Ramil's salary is perhaps four times bigger than the salary of the governor of Cebu. But what about Basil?

Ramil and Basil are, like me, sons of public school teachers in Ronda who are honest, persevering, and hardworking. Their eldest brother was an engineer who earned a lot in Saudi. His other brother is a doctor now practicing in Mindanao, and his younger brother is the colorful philosopher-priest Fr. Russel Sungcad. They are an outstanding family of excellent professionals. I loved his parents, the late Basiliso Sungcad and Estela. I would hate to see the day when Basil would have no job. If the incoming governor does not have a place for him, I will recommend him to vice governor-elect Junjun Davide or even to mayor-elect Edgar Labella if they want to have an advocacy office for Cebuano OFWs.

Nowadays, it’s hard to find an excellent speechwriter who can write with flawless grammar and impeccable syntax. But Basil can do that. It’s really difficult to find a staff you can trust with sensitive data and documents. But Basil can handle that. It’s very rare to find a confidante who can arrange your schedule every day, coordinate with other offices and agencies, make sure all people are notified, and there is no glitch at all in the synchronization of time, space, and motions. But Basil can do all these flawlessly. If I were in a position of great influence, I would prefer Basil over a rabidly loyal but totally incompetent underling.

If I were a rich man (that, by the way, is Atty. Ramil's favorite song from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”), I would retain Atty. Ramil as my consiglieri (a la “The Godfather”) and Basil as my chief of staff. I am sure to have a peaceful, orderly, and productive life. I hope politicians can pick up some of my nuggets of experience in the battlefields of life and career.

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