FINANCE Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s admission that neither he nor other economic managers were consulted by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the rice price cap decision bolsters accounts that I have been receiving over the President’s decision-making process. Unfortunately, they claim his decisions have been made haphazardly, and without consultation with his officials or other private advisers knowledgeable about the issue.
Unlike most effective presidents of corporations, and even a few presidents of the Republic, Marcos reportedly hardly consults with advisers on a decision to be made, nor does he have a group that he asks to debate the pros and cons of a controversy. In the case of the rice price cap, I was told that the Agriculture department’s senior undersecretary Domingo Panganiban called him up to recommend it, and he immediately agreed to the proposal.
I couldn’t find anybody to tell me who or what group Marcos consults with. I had thought chief presidential legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile and Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, a former Supreme Court chief justice, would be the heavyweights he would ask for advice. “Have you ever seen a photo of him talking to them?” a Malacañang insider said with a wide grin. Marcos Cabinet meetings are a formality in which reports are presented to a bored audience with no discussion of important issues facing the country. The Cabinet meetings, two members told me, are practically a ritual, dominated by boring PowerPoint events.(more…)