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Miriam says 'incompetents' will have no place in her Cabinet

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, one of the five candidates vying for the presidency in May, on Friday said only the best and most competent will be appointed to her Cabinet if ever she is elected president.

"I will recruit the best, the most competent, the most experienced, the most honest men and women to assist me run my administration," Santiago said in a statement. "Political parasites, incompetents, and unproductive workers will have no place in my administration."

Santiago issued the statement as she highlighted netizens' criticisms of the alleged incompetence of certain members of President Benigno Aquino III's Cabinet.

To clear government service of corrupt and incompetent officials, she said her administration will review the performance of each government agency.

"I will start by conducting a swift review of all programs and projects of government. There will be a task force for each major department as soon as I assume office," Santiago said.

Santiago said she will also push for the passage of a bill that will penalize solicitation of political recommendation for the purpose of employment or promotion in the government service.

Santiago lamented that her Anti-Political Recommendations Bill, Senate Bill No. 1198, remains pending at the committee level in the Senate despite having filed it in August 2013. She said she is not optimistic that it will be  approved before the close of the 16th Congress in June.

Santiago explained that the proposed bill will penalize the acts of making and soliciting political recommendations, thus limiting to agencies the discretion to appoint, promote, assign or transfer designation, interim or otherwise.

"Many public officials use their powers to influence the appointment of persons to government posts through recommendations. Those who solicit political recommendations are not always the most competent public servants," she said.

Santiago said the anti-political recommendations law that her administration aims to pass will cover even the Armed Forces and the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, which, she said, have extensively been eroded by the so-called “padrino system.”

Santiago won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, as Immigration commissioner in 1988. She was cited for "bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency." —Elizabeth Marcelo/KBK, GMA News