#AnimatED: Forming the Duterte Cabinet

We welcome the orderly transition to the new government that is taking place after the fierce and hurtful rhetoric of the 3-month campaign.

Swift count of election results and the overall credibility of the polls, early concessions by defeated candidates, and sober and reasonable announcements from the Duterte camp: all these are steps that contribute to the gradual maturing of our democracy.

This is only the 5th such transition since we regained our lost freedoms in 1986, albeit interrupted by a “people power” rebellion that unseated President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

The hard work has begun for the incoming president and his team amid high expectations that Rodrigo Duterte can deliver his quick-fix promises, mainly to suppress criminality in 3 to 6 months.

Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez, Duterte’s key adviser, has calmed the business community with an 8-point program  that assures continuity of the economic gains and market-friendly policies. This is the first time that the Duterte team came clear on a broad economic program.

To add excitement and good feeling, Peter Tiu Laviña, Duterte’s spokesperson, announced that the Cabinet will be patterned after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s – diverse, young, and gender-balanced.

We certainly look forward to the new Cabinet and hope that the all-male transition team, which is conducting the search and vetting potentials, takes the composition seriously. (READ: List: Who's who in the incoming Duterte Cabinet)

Forming a Cabinet is one of the 1st major decisions of a president. Since Duterte is known to be an implementor and not a policy-maker, it is crucial whom he chooses to be part of his official family.

Easily, the Duterte team can learn lessons from the current administration. President Aquino put premium on friendship rather than merit. This weakness gravely affected his decision-making and diminished the promise of good governance.

We urge Duterte and his camp to go beyond the confines of cozy Davao and personal relationships in their search of bright men and women to serve in the cabinet. Integrity and competence, of course, are mainstay qualifications. 

City Hall will be vastly different from Malacañang. Duterte has to get used to working with those who can honestly disagree with him and not simply laugh in approval, who can give him resolute advice and help discipline his speech and personal habits. Surrounding oneself with yes-men and women is the easiest – but not always the right – thing for a leader to do. 

All this should not be lost on the new president who was swept into office by almost 40% of voters or close to 16 million Filipinos. – Rappler.com