The Marcos II Government is slowly emerging. Most of the critical posts have been filled up. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Ben Diokno is set to return to the Cabinet as Secretary of Finance. His deputy, Amanah Pangandaman, is set to occupy the Department of Budget and Management. Arsenio Balisacan will return to the National Economic and Development Authority.
The remaining Cabinet appointments are a mixed bag of technocrats and political appointees. Among the technocrats, Bienvenido Laguesma- a long-time member of the rank and file- will head the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Susan Ople will become the first Secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers. Alfredo Pascual will take over the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
On the political side, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte will head the Department of Education. Her spokesperson, Christina Frasco, will head the Department of Tourism (DOE). Other key political concessions: Benhur Abalos at DILG; Boying Remulla at DOJ; and most bizarrely, Erwin Tulfo at DSWD. It is speculated that Rodante Marcoleta and Mike Defensor will head DOE and DND, respectively.
The leadership of the next Congress is also emerging. Martin Romualdez appears as a shoo-in for Speaker of the House. In the Senate, Cynthia Villar has conceded the race for the Senate Presidency. The Senate President-elect, Miguel Zubiri, has named the Senate leadership and key Committee appointments: Loren Legarda for Pro-Tempore; Joel Villlanueva for Majority Leader; Sonny Angara for Finance; and Gatchalian for Ways and Means.
It looks like the Marcos II administration will be one of continuity. On one hand, he will likely continue the tradition of delegating most of the economic policy-making to the economic managers. Investors appear to be happy with the composition of this team. Key business groups- like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation (PEC) and Management Association of the Philippines (MAP)- lauded the President’s appointments.
However, the appointments to DBM, DILG and DSWD indicate that these positions will remain a key source of patronage. Incoming DBM Sec. Pangandaman is a former Senate staffer, and is familiar with the political and technical sides oft the budget. Abalos and Tulfo are not technocrats, and may end up using their positions to further Marcos’ political positions as well as their own.