MANILA, Philippines—Two senators who just completed their final terms and who are expected to join the Aquino administration like the President’s tough style of berating public officials and agencies that fall short of expectations, even during their special occasions.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan both agreed that the public scolding Aquino gave the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) during the agency’s recent anniversary was meant to drive home the message that government entities were supposed to deliver on their targets or be held accountable for their failures.
Works both ways
“The public scolding works both ways. One, it keeps the agency head and staff on their toes all year round knowing that their day of reckoning comes once a year on their anniversary,” said Lacson in a text message.
“In a way, it also underscores public accountability at its best since the scolding is done publicly by the guest of honor and speaker who happens to be the head of state,” he added.
Lacson is expected to take on an anticorruption function in the administration after his second six-year term ended on June 30.
But he also said that a public scolding “goes against a leadership tenet that says it is best to commend in public and reprimand in private.”
Still, he added, he supported the President.
“Under the Philippine setting where mediocrity and under-performance go unnoticed, and at times even rewarded, I would support the President’s leadership style along that line,” Lacson said.
Pangilinan, former chairman of the committee on agriculture, said the scolding NIA officials received when President Aquino spoke at their anniversary celebration was “justified.”
“A lot of complaints had reached my office regarding the NIA’s foot-dragging on many irrigation projects throughout the country. The scolding was justified. Irrigation is critical for food security,” he said.
“Without it we cannot produce anything of consequence and our farmers and the rural areas will remain impoverished. Billions have been appropriated for the NIA yet it has failed to deliver,” he added.
Pangilinan is likewise a possible appointee to the Aquino administration. The last of his two six-year terms also ended Sunday.
It will be recalled that President Aquino scolded Chief Justice Renato Corona during a Supreme Court celebration just before the latter was removed from office last year.
Aquino also castigated a broadcaster of a leading television station several months ago for his style of delivery during the news program’s anniversary party.