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Transition from and to power

It’s Day 6 of Marcos administration 2.0.

By this time, most of the key officials of the Duterte administration whose term of office is coterminous with that of the appointing power have turned over their office to their successor.

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Some of them may try to hold on to their posts on holdover capacity, i.e., remain in office until their replacement is named, and at the same time discreetly look for people who can intercede for them in the new administration for a reappointment.

Unless these hopefuls are able to do that (and fast), they may have to resign themselves to the fact that their days in government are over. The transition from the past administration to the present is inevitable.

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The “outs” would soon go through the withdrawal pains that often come with the loss of, among others, the free use of government motor vehicles for official and personal purposes, unlimited mobile phone usage, foreign travel privileges and services of a staff at their beck and call 24/7.

The aura that their title or position once bestowed on them would most likely dissipate when they return to civilian status.

When before they were the object of fawning attention when they go to the watering holes of VIPs and business executives in posh hotels or country clubs, this time the most they would get from them would perhaps be a lame hand wave or polite greeting.

The warm reception they used to get would instead come from the receptionist or waiter who would take their order.

If in the past their calls were immediately returned, not anymore. In case the person called is, say, in a meeting or tied up with something important, the ex-government bigwig would, depending on the quality of their prior official interaction, get “am in a meeting. will call back when free” text message, or a return call later (read: when in a good mood to do so). No rush.

If the erstwhile official was the recipient of expensive birthday or Christmas gifts that could fill a small-size boutique, the new norm for those occasions would now be emoji-laden text greetings. Gifts would be considered tacky or passé.

The scenario, however, would be different if the former officials were, for example, fair and accommodating in the performance of their duties or otherwise epitomized the true meaning of public service.

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For this rare breed of officials, the people they had dealt with or are appreciative of their actions would continue to give them the courtesy and respect they deserve even when they are already out of office.

Some business tycoons are reputed to have an elephant’s memory for the government officials who treated them well or went out of their way to assist them when they were still nobodies.

These “good Samaritans” stay in their gift list long after they have retired from the government.

When the present administration has settled down, a new set of top officials would soon take over the bureaucracy.

Like their predecessors, they would enjoy the perks and privileges of their position, be lionized by the people who do business with them, be treated like royalty when they attend official and private functions, and listened to when they talk at formal and informal gatherings.

They would, figuratively speaking, be the toast of the town, especially by the sector in our society that would be affected by their official actions.

There is a flip side, however, to this new found glory. If they do anything that detracts from the public’s expectations about clean and honest governance, including the way they conduct themselves in private, expect the media, both traditional and social, to give full publicity to that act.

In any event, the new “ins” deserve the best wishes to be able to perform efficiently and competently their assigned tasks. They should enjoy the ride, so to speak, in the government service.

But while in that state of hubris, they should not forget the idiom, “Be nice to the people you meet on your way up because they are the people you will meet on your way down.” INQ

For comments, please send your email to [email protected]

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