Tuesday, August 31, 2010


A lot of folk hyperventilated when it seemed that the Department of Interior portfolio would go to Vice President Jejomar Binay. Many gulped at the thought of Binay at the DILG – a surefire way of cementing an already strong nationwide network, which made him the dark horse of the last elections.

We screamed for Naga City’s Jesse Robredo, he of the lily-white reputation, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the rep for transparency and integrity. We chafed at how it was taking President Benigno Aquino III too long to appoint official. We heard talks of disagreements in policy, of tense meetings. But in the end, he did appoint dear Jesse.

Of course, it wasn’t quite as ideal as it sounded. Robredo may be DILG chief but Mr. Aquino’s election campaign official bagman, Rico Puno (not the singer) was given powers over the Philippine National Police (PNP), headed by Director-General Jesus Versoza.

I don’t know why Rebredo’s patience has snapped. But in the past two days, he has told select journalists that he shouldn’t be blamed for the August 23 hostage-taking fiasco because the PNP answers to Puno. Today, he demanded a probe into why Versoza flew to Cagayan de Oro in the afternoon of Aug. 23.

Now, why the DILG secretary needs to ask for a probe is curious in itself and once more a dead giveaway of the intramurals between the two main Aquino support camps.

There will always be feuds over the spoils of political victory. But what is particularly galling over the Aquino brawls is that, they have often made their principal look not only wrong-footed but also bereft of leadership.

Details of those fights have to wait for another post. This one will deal with a stunning development on the transparency and accountability front. It’s one story that doesn’t need independent verification – because it comes from the DILG.

Before I give you the press release, just this question: So does this mean that President Aquino and the DILG Secretary don’t care about past allegations of wrong-doing, don’t care that it may have cost taxpayers a couple of billion pesos?

Here goes (all itals mine):



In a move to strengthen the foundation of responsible and accountable governance, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today formally opened its doors for civil society participation in governance with the signing of a memorandum of agreement with two multi-sectoral networks of national government organizations (NGOs) that seeks to institutionalize partnerships with NGOs at the local level.

DILG Secretary Jesse M Robredo, Executive Director Vicente Lazatin of Transparency and Accountability Network Inc. (TAN), and Anna Marie Karnos representing Executive Director Sixto Donato of Caucus of Development Non-Governmental Organization Networks (CODE) signed the memorandum of agreement today at the DILG Central Office in Quezon City.

Robredo said that the MOA will effectively mobilize and engage CSOs as partners of the DILG and local government units to promote accountability, transparency, inclusivity and performance in local administration and development as well as in the internal operations of the Department.

“We believe in the huge potentials and advantages of collaborative partnerships with NGOs, CSOs, and the private sector in undertaking development projects and in improving government systems and procedures,” said Robredo, during the MOA signing.

Under the MOA, the DILG Secretary said the Department shall hold a monthly Local Governance Forum that will address issues that continue to challenge the norms of performance and accountability.

The DILG is also tasked to establish a communication link with TAN, CODE-NGO and other partners to ensure complementarity of decisions of actions in furtherance of the objectives of the partnerships at the national and local levels. It shall also enjoin DILG regional offices to support the aims of the DILG-CSO and DILG-LGU-CSO partnerships.

On the other hand, TAN and CODE-NGO shall launch, in collaboration with the DILG, a Social Accountability Initiative to promote civic consciousness and action to provide a balancing perspective on the performance and development conditions of a locality.

They shall also take the lead in convening the Regional Partnership workshops, and regularize the assessment of DILG-CSO and DILG-LGU-CSO partnerships and link information to concerned central and local government authorities for decision and action.

Moreover, they shall assist the Department in crafting new, or enhancing existing, programs or policies to promote transparency, accountability and performance, as well as in conducting performance tracking and development outcome-audit.

TAN is a coalition of multi-sectoral organizations which seeks to contribute significantly to the reduction of corruption in the country, while CODE-NGO is a national civil society organization. ###

WHAT, NO MENTION OF HOW CODE-NGO RAKED IN A 'COMMISSION' OF P1-BILLION FOR PACKAGING A FOREIGN LOAN? Aaaaah, but then, as the old guard use to say, what are they in power for

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