Not for softies

Marcos said his appointment of Centino rationalizes promotions and the seniority within the officer corps so that officers can aspire for and see realizable career growth.

Those associated with or who are relatives of public officials are required to pass the so-called “Caesar’s wife test” of being above suspicion of any wrongdoing.

The original interpretation is that such should be the case, so kings, emperors, prime ministers, and presidents are spared being tainted or smeared by virtue of association.

A revisionist’s take on the same saying posits that people associated with public figures cannot and must not be held responsible for things those officials do.

Along this line, if being above suspicion is a must for the associates or relatives of public officials, more so for the latter although politics naturally opens them up to attacks and accusations.

For President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., another requirement for those called upon to join his administration is to possess a strong constitution and not to be onion-skinned when facing criticism.

The advice could have done resigned National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos a lot of good in facing what she claimed to be moves made against her since day one of her holding the sensitive NSA post.

Not that Marcos was remiss in pointing out to her that her suspicion may have been unfounded and, probably, hearing it from within the President’s circle, one arising from a case of paranoia.

“Me, I didn’t think so,” the President on Friday told members of the local media who covered his participation in the 16-23 January World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He was referring to the conspiracy theory that Carlos hinted at as the reason why she gave up the post taken over by retired general and former interior secretary Eduardo Año.

“I kept telling her, I don’t really think so,” Marcos said. “And I guess she just found it too much that she could not…. that she didn’t enjoy her time in government which, you know, if we think about it, is not really surprising because that’s not her natural habitat.”

“Her natural habitat is the academe. And so now she will be in a think tank which is perfect for her,” the President added, referring to a group being formed in the House of Representatives to give advice on security matters.

Pressed further if what Carlos did — to resign in the face of criticism — may prompt others in the Cabinet to also resign, the President answered rather amused, “Well, just because they’re criticized, they’ll have to leave?”

The chief executive added that it would take a lot more than people criticizing his officials for him to ask them to step down. “How much, how many of the Cabinet (members) have received a lot of criticisms?” he asked.

He then added that he’s “not like that” — someone who’d base his decisions on whether to let go of members of his family just because they had been criticized.

“I asked them to join the Cabinet. I asked them to join the government because I believe in them. I trust them. I believe in their capabilities, and I believe that they are…. their love of country. And so, somebody criticizing them for something is not enough to change my opinion,” Marcos said.

Just the same, Marcos admitted that a change in the NSA leadership and the return of four-star general Andres Centino at the helm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines vice Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro did quell growing unrest in the military.

Marcos said his appointment of Centino rationalizes promotions and the seniority within the officer corps so that officers can aspire for and see realizable career growth.

“What we did was the solution to the problem that was the disgruntlement that was going on in the ranks,” the chief executive said.

Marcos’ actions have shown that he has his ear to the ground and that he is willing to act decisively to put his house in order.


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