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President’s men: Not perfect, but …

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds his first Cabinet meeting being held at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace. The agenda focuses on disaster risk reduction and management status of the country. MALACAÑANG POOL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte holds his first Cabinet meeting at the Malacañang Palace on June 30. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

How to assess the performance so far of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet officials and other appointees? Inquirer Research reached out to political scientists to find out.

“The President’s men know that the focus is on the President and the government,” said Edmund Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas. “They’re not perfect, but you know they’re speaking for the President.”

For Ateneo de Manila political science instructor Carmel Abao, it may be too early to tell. “It may be too early to assess the performance of his Cabinet but what is obvious is that the selection process of the Cabinet members was no different than the selection process employed by previous administrations—i.e. a collection of campaign supporters, no vetting process,” she noted.

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Even then, Abao said one could tell whom among the Cabinet officials are performing well—and who aren’t.

“Obviously, too, there are high-performers and under-performers,” she said, citing Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, Education Secretary Liling Briones and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo as “high performers” and Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar as “under-performers.”

“And there are those who seem focused only on immediate instructions of the President rather than on departmental concerns, like Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, whose Department of Justice has focused only on Sen. Leila de Lima and the drug-related developments,” she added.

For Tayao, the standout member of the Cabinet is President Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo, whom he said “often confuses the public with what he says and is somewhat flamboyant.”

“He is better off doing other things other than speaking for the President. The rest are doing fine so far,” Tayao said.

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TAGS: Duterte cabinet, Gina Lopez, Jesus Dureza, Judy Taguiwalo, Leila de Lima, Liling Briones, Martin Andanar, Perfecto Yasay, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, Vitaliano Aguirre
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