Jesse Robredo (photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

In the popular movie Troy, Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) taunted the Trojans after he vanquished Hector by bellowing: Is there no one else?

Today, many Filipinos may be asking the same question.

The remains of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo have yet to be buried.  However, this did not seem to stop influence peddlers and lobbyists to work for their ‘manoks’ (favored persons) as possible successors.

Former President Estrada (photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

In today’s news, former President Joseph Estrada was quoted as saying he will respect whatever decision President Benigno Aquino III makes in choosing the next Interior Secretary.  In almost the same vein, he dropped the name of Vice President Jejomar Binay, current head of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).  Binay was Estrada’s running mate in the 2010 general elections; Binay expressed very strong interest in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) post before he was appointed to Pag-IBIG.

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Estrada was further quoted that Binay is already doing well as Pag-IBIG chairman and is needed by the agency.

Mr. Estrada:  if Binay is doing well and is needed in Pag-IBIG, why make these statements?  Trial balloons?

Another name being bruited about is Senator Panfilo Lacson, who will lose his job next year.

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Wala na bang iba?

Is there no one else?

Robredo’s death presents two related problems for President Aquino.

The first one is to appoint his replacement.

The second, a more difficult one, is to appoint somebody who surpasses or just approximates the integrity, intensity, and quiet industry of Robredo.

If not, the nation will not confirm his replacement.

  1. Noel says:

    I like that you start this piece with a citation about a movie. I like doing that too. So here’s one: “lf you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree.” This is Sean Connery’s character telling Elliot Ness played by Kevin Costner in the movie “Untouchables” about how they should create a team to fight organize crime led by Al Capone.

    The sad thing about Philippine politics is that everyone knows and talks about the need for political will–including brilliant people from our alma matter– but no one really is willing to make the gamble about actually exercising it, because there’s just too much at stake, too much “investments” already made, too much desire from the “usual suspects” to perpetuate themselves into power. Thus, we ask “wala na bang iba?” And rightly so. We should be looking for someone new and different, if we have the political will of course.

    Robredo’s age when he became the youngest Mayor at 29 is always mentioned. Hiring the “young” 52 year old Sereno as CJ is considered a bold move. Why not do the same for the next secretary of the DILG and really look for someone in the same mold as Robredo? Maybe not all the apples from the barrel are rotten but they sure might be close to getting rotten. Let’s get one from the tree this time! In 1988, we found the 29 year old Robredo and the people of Naga elected him Mayor. I’m sure we can find some version of him, today in 2012!

  2. Paolo says:

    And that is why he the line from Troy is so apt. Only men of his caliber can say this with pride and I’m sure he’d wouldn’t.

  3. Robert says:

    I agree with your last line, Sir. The powerful Commission on Appointments may confirm the successor, but the people are still powerful in terms of ‘real confirmation’ especially now that the standards have been raised (so high). It is hardly imaginable that there is ‘another’ Robredo.

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