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Appointment of GOCC directors

GOING into his third month in office, President Duterte has already named the members of his Cabinet and the heads of major government bureaus and offices.

The President will be relying on them to fulfill his campaign promises and accomplish his agenda of change.

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Many of these appointees were his former classmates in law school, political allies and people who worked with him closely when he was mayor of Davao City for over two decades.

Some positions are reportedly not being filled up or are temporarily manned by officers-in-charge to await the lifting of the one-year ban on the appointment of losing candidates to government offices.

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Duterte’s protégés and staunch supporters who did not succeed in their political aspirations in the recent elections are probably counting the days when their efforts and sacrifices for him will receive their payback through appointment to these positions.

Following tradition, appointments to sub-Cabinet or below executive level positions are expected to be made by or delegated to the heads of the agencies concerned.

At this stage, past political favors given or closeness to the people who have the ear of the President will play a significant role in the selection process.

Directors

The appointments list also includes the positions of director, trustee and officer of government-owned and -controlled corporations, government financial institutions, government instrumentalities with corporate powers and government corporate entities, which are collectively described as GOCCs.

Republic Act No. 10149 created the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations (GCG) to act as the “central advisory, monitoring and oversight body” of GOCCs.

The GCG is composed of a chair and two commissioners, with the incumbent finance secretary and budget and management secretary sitting in as ex-officio members.

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This body is tasked to, among others, submit to the President, after careful evaluation, a short-list of possible appointees to the board of directors or trustees of GOCCs for his signature.

According to the GCG website, there are, to date, 157 GOCCs under the GCG’s jurisdiction. During the Aquino administration, several GOCCs were, upon the GCG’s recommendation, abolished because they either have outlived their usefulness or duplicated the functions of other government offices.

The number of GOCC directors or trustees varies depending on the law or executive order that created them. Until GCG came into the picture, the GOCCs practically had a free hand in determining their perks and privileges and which authority was, not surprisingly, abused.

The good old days ended with the GCG’s issuance of the guidelines on the fixing of the compensation and other benefits of GOCC executives and personnel.

Qualifications

The ball is now in the court of the new GCG leadership. It’s probably swamped with applications and curriculum vitae of people who want to be appointed director or trustee (and if successful, chair, chief executive officer, or chief operating officer) of GOCCs.

Although the term of office of GOCC directors or trustees is only one year, unless earlier removed for cause, the initial appointment can be parlayed into repeated reappointments by either doing a good job or knowing how to curry the favor of the powers that be.

The law prescribes the criteria in the selection of the GOCC directors and trustees. Aside from meeting the qualifications stated in the GOCC’s charter or, if it has none, in its bylaws, the prospective appointees should possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the job, as determined by GCG.

In a nutshell, they should be compliant with the “fit and proper” rule, meaning, they have the “integrity, experience, education, training and competence” to perform the duties and responsibilities of a director or trustee of the GOCC that they want to be appointed to.

Compliance with this requirement becomes more essential if the appointment will eventually lead to the director’s elevation to the position of chief executive of the GOCC.

Holdover

While it may be ideal to have a new set of GOCC directors or trustees appointed as soon as possible, there is no need to rush the selection and recommendation processes.

It should be borne in mind that these GOCCs were created to perform a specific task that is geared toward national development or aimed at meeting the needs of a certain sector of our society.

More importantly, they use taxpayers’ money to sustain their operations.

Given these circumstances, it is essential that, as much as possible, only the fit and proper, as defined by GCG, are appointed to the GOCC’s policy making or management bodies.

The qualifications of the aspirants for GOCC positions should be carefully reviewed and evaluated to make sure they meet the requirements of the job.

The process need not be railroaded because, unless the incumbent GOCC directors or trustees have irrevocably tendered their resignation, they are authorized to stay on the job in a holdover capacity.

Their terms of office will expire only after their successors have been appointed by the president.

By and large, the GOCCs during the Aquino administration performed well and were able to deliver substantial dividends to the national coffers.

Let’s see if the new GOCC directors or trustees can equal, if not surpass, the performance record of their predecessors.

For comments, please send your e-mail to [email protected]

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