Presidential Dilemma: Cutting-off Liabilities

When the wheels of justice are not moving, heads must roll.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently hinted of a cabinet revamp, given his dissatisfaction over the performance of some of his trusted Secretaries. While no specific names were mentioned in the statement(s) of the Presidential Spokesperson, it seems apparent that the days of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary are numbered.

Last week, the DOJ was involved in two controversial issues: the dismissal of drug-related complaints filed against alleged drug lords Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa et. al., and the admission of alleged Pork Barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles' to the Witness Protection Program.

President Rodrigo Duterte campaigned on a platform of anti-corruption and anti-illegal drugs. In the first two years of his term, he has made this message clear by firing officials who're said to be involved in corrupt practices and by spearheading a massive and countrywide "War Against Illegal Drugs." The President has drawn both praise and criticism for these executive actions.

Many government officials and prominent personalities remain loyal to the causes of the President. However, the recent actuations of some of his trusted people have cast doubt on the sincerity and genuinity of the current regime in solving these social ills. While a vast majority of our people continue to have trust in the President, there is consensus among many bystanders and even within the President’s support circle that certain executive department heads must go. The behavior and initiatives of some of them have burdened and embarrassed the President at many instances. Instead of having the President and the country’s interests in mind, they have succumbed to the influences of traditional politics and the politics of a ‘few.’

The impunity of the elite was the very reason behind Rodrigo Duterte's ascension to the Presidency. He represented the public’s collective distrust against the conventional and established social, political and economic norms of our country. His anti-establishment views and acts have renewed the hopes of our people for a better country. Hence, I trust that President Duterte will not hesitate to sack his supposed alter-ego(s) abruptly when their actions run contrary to his vision of a drug and corrupt-free Philippines.

In his many years in government, President Duterte has continuously labored hard to establish the political capital he now uses to implement key reforms. However, this political capital may quickly dwindle if he decides to keep the ‘liabilities’ in his administration.

To survive this political storm, the President has to cut-off his ‘liabilities’, even as these people actively supported him during the 2016 Elections.


About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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