ROUGH CUTS| ‘Iglesia ni Duterte,’ a euphemism

NATIONAL tabloid Bandera headline: “Join Iglesia ni Duterte.” Whoaaa! No cause for worry to Iglesia ni Cristo’s Eduardo Manalo or Jesus is Lord’s Eddie Villanueva, and even the presumptive President-elect’s close friend and spiritual adviser Apollo C. Quiboloy. The incoming President was clearly making a preposterous statement. So he is joking.

But on the other hand, he may be serious. But of course he may just be using the “Iglesia ni Duterte” as a substitute for “Duterte administration.” People are well aware that the incoming president is having a hard time convincing educationally and experience-qualified persons to come on board his Cabinet because of low salary issue.

It is understandable of course because the people who have the qualifications needed to become heads of the various agencies in the government bureaucracy are those who are in the private sector and are currently receiving hefty salaries and allowances as well as other perks attendant to the present position they are holding in the corporate sector.

Imagine most if not all, of them are already receiving salaries ranging from a low of half a million to a high of 5 to 6 million pesos a month depending on how large and diversified the corporation he is on top! Under a law passed by the outgoing administration’s Congress, the salary of the President is adjusted to P400 thousand a month (Salary Grade 33). The Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who are at Salary Grade 32 may be receiving a little less; and the salaries of members of the House, associate justices of the Supreme Court, senators, department secretaries, and chairs of constitutional commissions who are at Salary Grade 31 may be lower by several thousands of pesos.

And with Duterte’s strong manifestation of ridding the government bureaucracy of corruption, then only those with the hidden desire not to follow the incoming President’s policy of clean governance will be forming the ant line towards the mayor hoping for opportunity of appointment.

Of course we know that there are also some well-heeled executives in private business who are willing to sacrifice by giving up the good pay and allowances in their present positions just to be of help to government. And Davao businessman Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez is without an iota of doubt, one of them. However, they are more of the exception than the rule.

We are also aware that from among the hierarchy in the different government line agencies and bureaus there are career officers who are qualified to run the office. And there are also from among them who are honest and have not been involved in any form of shenanigans in government. And the incoming President knows it.

Unfortunately however, most of them are also hesitant to get appointed as secretary of the Department unless they are six or less number of years before retirement. Why, because when a career officer is appointed full-fledged Secretary of a Department he or she evolves into a Presidential appointee. Thus, his or her term becomes co-terminus with the term of the President or even earlier depending on his/her performance.

If the person remains a career officer in the Department, that person’s tenure of office is governed by the Civil Service rules and he/she can only be booted out of service if the officer commits serious infraction and proven to have done such.

So, we are somewhat tempted to interpret presumptive President-elect Duterte’s statement that he has a “new” religion the “Iglesia ni Duterte” is a euphemism for the highest level of governance that he is now into as the incoming President, his invitation for the people to join him in his “Iglesia” is his way of euphemizing his desire to attract highly qualified individuals into his Cabinet even at the extent of sacrificing what they now have in favor of honestly serving the constituency.


And here is one for the daughter of the new President who is also a rising political star, comebacking mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Early Friday evening while on our way to a meeting with some Singapore-based business researchers,  we almost side-swept some teenagers on top of their skate board who were swerving and bubbling the Palma Gil street to the direction of the People’s Park. One of the young boys narrowly missed a taxi cab whose driver suddenly applied his brake at an intersection. The taxi cab driver shouted, “kung magpakamatay ka ayaw pagdamay ug ubang tawo” (If you want to commit suicide do not include other persons).

We were later informed that during evenings San Pedro St. is also littered with these teenagers doing “exhibition” with their skate board to the chagrin of motorists.

May be the incoming mayor can look for ways to stop this virtual invasion of motorists’ ways by these young people who unilaterally convert the roads and its sidewalks into their own private playing grounds. She can ask the Council to legislate the prohibition and designate certain places where the aspiring skate board artists can do their thing without adding more danger to the already risky city roads.


Posted in Opinion