Bernardo M. Villegas
Articles  >> more topics
My Nominees for Next Cabinet (Part 2)

           For the Secretary of Transport and Communication, my candidates are Mr. Juan Pena, former Head of the Philippine Ports Authority; Mr. Ramoncito Fernandez, Manager of Infrastructure Projects of the First Pacific Group; Dr. Henry Basilio, Transportation Specialist now working for the USAID; and Dante Lantin, Transport Economist.  To take the place of Secretary Singson at DPWH after two or three years:  Mark Dumol, Infrastructure Executive with the San Miguel Group; Mr. Mabini Pablo, former Undersecretary of DPWH; George  Consunji, CEO of DMCI; and Roberto Castillo, CEO of Engineering Equipment.  For Department of Energy, Mr. John Alcordo of Team Energy; Oliver Butalid, former member of ERC; Guido Delgado, former President of NAPOCOR;  Ed Chua, CEO of Shell Philippines; Jay Layug, former Undersecretary of Energy.  Another nominee of mine for either Department of Energy or Department of Finance is Dr. Ricardo Barcelona who reached the highest position in finance with Shell in The Hague and before that was an international banker in Madrid and London.  He has a Ph.D. from King’s College of London and heads energy research for one of the top business schools in the world, the IESE Business School in Barcelona.  He has scrutinized many energy projects in the Philippines, including the renewables.

          For the Department of Natural Resources, Dr. Mahar Lagmay and Dr. Carlos Arcilla, both at the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) of the University of the Philippines.  Finally, the Department of Trade and Industry:  the present Secretary of Trade and Industry Adrian Cristobal, Jr.; Dr. Thomas Aquino, former Undersecretary of DTI; Mr. Jose Antonio Buencamino, Assistant Secretary of DTI assigned to Geneva;  Dr. Ramon Quesada, former President of the Small Business Corporation; and Atty. Leo Dominguez, former Managing Partner of Quisumbing Torres Law Office.

          Since I have less exposure to the other sectors involved, I have fewer names for the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare.  For the former, I recommend Dr. Ernest Dawson, Medical Director of the Development Bank of the Philippines; Dr. Jimmy Montoya, Consultant on Infectious Diseases of the Department of Science and Technology; and Dr. Antonio Calanoc, practicing orthopedic doctor and pro-life activist.  For the latter, I recommend Ms. Ma. Socorro L. Bautista, Executive Director of the Madrigal Foundation; Ms. Ester Santos, Executive Director of the Smart Foundation; and Ms. Maria Dolores Tanseco del Rosario, Head of Resiliency Program for Street Children of the Center for Family Ministry.  For the Secretary of Science and Technology, I have only one nominee:  Dado Banatao, Silicon Valley entrepreneur (assuming he has double citizenship).  Since I have already alerted him (to the consternation of his wife), my only nominee for Secretary of Foreign Affairs is present Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cuisia, Jr.  In all my decades of doing road shows in different countries, I have never met a Filipino Ambassador more hardworking than Joey Cuisia.  He probably is the only Ambassador to the U.S. who shall have traveled to all the fifty states of the U.S before his term ends.

          For the Secretary of Interior and Local Government, my advice to the next President is to unite the country by appointing one of the losing presidential or vice-presidential candidates to the post.  There are enough of them who have been local government officials and would know the intricacies of dealing with governors, mayors and other officials.  I leave it up to the respective search committees of the Presidentiables to look into the track records of the candidates for President and Vice-President in having good relations with local government officials.  Or, as President Aquino did, the next President may appoint the next Vice-President who may belong to another party.  With due respects to the Ateneo professors (at least some of them), Bongbong Marcos, if he wins as Vice-President, will do a good job as Head of DILG.  He has a reputation of having been an honest and competent Governor for nine years in the province of Ilocos Norte.

          As a final point, if there is fear that the next President may not have the same resolve as President Benigno S. Aquino III to combat corruption aggressively, I am counting on the anti-corruption institutions that are now in place, thanks to the last six years of efforts to eradicate corruption.  They are the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) that enabled us to impeach a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the very strict implementation by the BSP and SEC of the Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA), except in the Casino sector; the abolition of the PDAP and the DAP; and the propensity of the millennials to use social networking like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others to closely monitor the behavior of public officials.   The power of the millennials and other concerned citizens to expose corrupt practices at the highest level will be strengthened with the passing of the Freedom of Information Law, which a good number of the candidates have pledged to support.  I believe that all of these, though not completely foolproof, will limit the freedom of movement of the next President and other government officials to be corrupt.  We only have to be constantly vigilant and use all these safeguards to minimize, if not totally eradicate, corruption in the next Administration.  I am also counting on private initiatives like that of the Makati Business Club and the various foreign chambers to enlist thousands of the largest business corporations to sign the Integrity Pledge:  that their executives make a commitment never to bribe any government official or to be involved in any corrupt practice whatsoever.  After all, it takes two to tango.  For comments, my email address is