A day before his six-year term begins, President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has yet to name those who will lead key agencies that have crucial roles in the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery.
Mr. Marcos has yet to announce his secretaries for the Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Energy.
Other agencies whose chiefs have yet to be nominated are the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.
On Wednesday, incoming Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles announced that outgoing chief state lawyer Jose C. Calida will head the Commission on Audit, which is in charge of scrutinizing the financial reports of all government agencies.
Mr. Calida did not come from the ranks of Philippine auditors. He served as undersecretary of the Department of Justice during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001-2004.
He has been criticized for supposedly using his capacity as state lawyer to go after perceived government critics, including former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who was ousted through the concurrence of Supreme Court justices to his petition to unseat her.
Ms. Cruz-Angeles also announced that Jose Arnulfo “Wick” A. Veloso will head the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which covers public sector workers.
Mr. Veloso currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the Philippine National Bank (PNB).
Mr. Marcos Jr. who will assume office as the country’s 17th president by noon of June 30, is facing challenges brought about by a coronavirus pandemic, the global impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, and cope with the increasingly urgent need to shift to green energy to mitigate the climate crisis.
He is also expected to implement policies and measures that will improve the Philippines’ performances in various sectors, including debt management and trade.
With old names being tapped to be part of Mr. Marcos’ Cabinet, economists and political analysts worry that the incoming administration might not be dynamic enough and able to respond to emerging needs.
“It seems that the basis for choosing the member of the Cabinet is one’s proximity to the people in power,” Arjan P. Aguirre, who teaches political science at the Ateneo De Manila University, said in a Messenger chat.
“The closer or more loyal you are to the president the higher you get into the political ladder,” he added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza