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Who is next in line as new BSP chief?




Posted on January 12, 2017


THE TERM of Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. as governor of the Philippine central bank will expire on July 2 and he hasn’t disclosed yet if he’ll accept an offer from President Rodrigo R. Duterte to stay on for a third term.

Mr. Tetangco, 64, has kept inflation below five percent for more than five years, allowing the bank to cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low. He has held office under three presidents, steered the economy through a global recession and served as a pillar of stability for investors spooked by Mr. Duterte’s rhetoric around his war on drugs.

The next central bank governor will need to protect the economy -- among the world’s fastest-growing -- from risks including higher US interest rates and capital outflows.

Mr. Tetangco in an interview on Monday said the central bank can hold off from raising rates in the next six months.

A veteran of more than 40 years at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Mr. Tetangco has said he prefers a successor who has worked in central banking before.

Here’s a list of five possible candidates based on discussions with central bank watchers and local media reports.

NESTOR A. ESPENILLA, JR.
BSP DEPUTY GOVERNOR

Mr. Espenilla, 58, joined the central bank in 1981 and has been deputy governor since 2005.

As head of BSP’s unit that oversees banks, he has pushed for the entry of more foreign lenders and encouraged mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Espenilla earned a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Policy in Tokyo and had a stint at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“It’s a natural aspiration for a deputy governor to serve the country at a higher plane of responsibility,” he said when asked about a possible promotion.

PETER B. FAVILA, BANKER
Mr. Favila, 68, is a consultant for the central bank and has served as president of Philippine National Bank, Allied Banking Corp. and Security Bank Corp.

He was trade secretary under former President Gloria M. Arroyo, headed the Philippine Stock Exchange and was a member of BSP’s Monetary Board.

“I’m prepared to serve,” Mr. Favila said when sought for comment.

DIWA C. GUINIGUNDO
BSP DEPUTY GOVERNOR

Mr. Guinigundo, 62, started his central banking career in 1978 and has been deputy governor and head of the monetary stability unit since 2005.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, he also worked at the IMF.

“I would accept the job if offered,” he said.

Mr. Guinigundo said deepening capital markets, fighting money laundering, terrorist financing and cyber crimes are some of the important tasks ahead.

ANTONIO C. MONCUPA, JR.
BANK PRESIDENT

Mr. Moncupa, 58, is a 30-year veteran in the banking industry and has been president of East West Banking Corp. for a decade.

He heads the policy think tank of Mr. Duterte’s political party.

Holding a Masters in Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago, Mr. Moncupa is among the most senior board members of the Bankers Association of the Philippines. He was jailed in the 1980s under martial law, accused of rebellion.

“I have been in the private sector all my career and something like this requires some serious reflection,” Mr. Moncupa said of news reports that he’s among those considered for the post.

PERFECTO R. YASAY, JR.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY

Mr. Yasay, 69, was Securities and Exchange Commission chief for five years until 2000 when he testified against ex-president Joseph Estrada in his impeachment trial.

A dormitory roommate of Mr. Duterte during their law school years, Mr. Yasay ran for vice-president in 2010 and lost.

A year later, he was included in a criminal complaint filed by the central bank for falsification and granting of illegal loans while serving as a director of a bank.

“I have always considered public office as a public trust. I have placed myself under the president’s disposal to serve our country and people the very best way I can,” he said. -- Bloomberg