(Reposted from Lamang Lupa.)
At the rate the appointment of Cayetano Paderanga as NEDA director-general and economic planning secretary is being questioned in business and government circles, President Aquino and his inner circle should seriously undertake a review of the allegations and determine once and for all whether the nominee is fit for high office.
The allegations against Paderanga are, to say the least, disturbing.
Two companies in the private sector forced him to resign as their chief executive. One is no less than the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), which dismissed him in 2004 after just six months at the helm. The other is a credit information company, which dismissed him for a host of transgressions, foremost of which was failure to settle the tax obligations of the company for three consecutive years, not for lack of finances but for sheer neglect.
And now there is need to look into his stint at the Monetary Board and the Central Bank. Privately, a former BSP governor is saying that Paderanga took liberties with his access to confidential information and data of the monetary authorities.
These are serious issues to raise, and they do not square with the high importance of the post of economic planning secretary and NEDA director-general. Leadership of the NEDA is one of the most sensitive and important in the Cabinet because it will be instrumental in shaping the economic policies of the government. It was precisely because of NEDA’s role that Romulo Neri got embroiled in the ZTE scandal as approving authority. And it is because of this that some foreign agencies have already made known that they would be uncomfortable discussing official development assistance (ODA) with Paderanga in charge.
The administration and the nominee can persist and face the allegations in the confirmation process in Congress. There they will be confronted by the objectors and legislators who will surely grill the nominee.
The more prudent course is for the administration to seriously review the nomination and examine the brief against Paderanga. If as seems to be the case, there is substance to the objections, the administration should withdraw his name. Or better still, Paderanga should withdraw and make way for President Aquino to nominate and appointment someone who is less ethically challenged.