Wise choice of Guevarra as watchdog

PRESIDENT Rodrigo “Di-gong” Duterte made a very wise decision when he named Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to head the “mega task force” to investigate all graft-ridden government agencies.

The choice of Guevarra to head the ad hoc anti-corruption body means that Digong is earnestly seeking to end corruption in the bureaucracy less than two years before his term ends.

Guevarra is neither from Davao City, the President’s hometown, nor a graduate of the San Beda College of Law, the President’s alma mater.

Guevarra is from Meycauayan, Bulacan and a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila Law School and a bar topnotcher.

Guevarra, a former undersecretary at the Office of the Executive Secretary, was appointed Justice secretary after his predecessor, Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, resigned under a cloud of controversy.

Aguirre was the President’s classmate at San Beda Law.

Perhaps the President has realized that hiring friends to work for him was a mistake.

As the book 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene says, “Be wary of friends — they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical.”

The second law in the 48 Laws of Power further states:

“When you decide to hire a friend, you gradually discover the qualities he or she has kept hidden. Strangely enough, it is your act of kindness that unbalances everything. People want to feel they deserve their good fortune. The receipt of a favor can become oppressive; it means you have been chosen because you are a friend, not necessarily because you are deserving. There is almost a touch of condescension in the act of hiring friends that secretly afflicts them.

“All working situations require a kind of distance between people. You are trying to work, not make friends; friendliness (real or false) only obscures that fact. The key to power, then, is the ability to judge who is best able to further your interests in all situations.”

I need not mention the people in the Duterte administration who abuse the President’s trust simply because they are townmates, classmates, or schoolmates to whom he owes a debt of gratitude.

We know all of them, some of whom have been taken out but most of them are still in key posts.


Guevarra will most likely do his job of ferreting out corrupt government officials because he has no baggage of friendship or gratitude.

Before he joined the government of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd, Guevarra was in lucrative private law practice.

His “man for others” Ateneo motto will serve him in good stead as Digong’s watchdog.


For starters, Guevarra may want to look into the corruption at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which is headed by Cesar Dulay, the President’s roommate at the YMCA-Manila Dormitory in the late 1960s.

The BIR, under Dulay’s watch, is one of the most corrupt agencies of government, if not
the most corrupt.

The most glaring highly suspicious tax deals that the BIR made were those of Cosmos Bottling Co. and Del Monte Corp.

Cosmos owed the government P3.76 billion in delinquent taxes, but Dulay’s BIR reduced it to P51 million (repeat, million).

The BIR deal with Cosmos was made even while the case against it was pending with the Court of Tax Appeals.

Dulay washed his hands of the highly irregular deal by pointing to the then BIR Deputy cCmmissioner Nestor Valeroso who, he said, signed the tax compromise.

Dulay’s excuse was that he was abroad when the deal with Cosmos was made.

Del Monte, on the other hand, owed the government P30 billion in taxes but was only made to pay P65.4 million (repeat, million).

Clint Aranas, the then deputy BIR commissioner for legal affairs, exposed the highly irregular reduction of the tax liability of Del Monte.

Dulay blamed Assistant BIR Commissioner Teresita Angeles, the head of the Large Taxpayers Service, for the deal with Del Monte.

The then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez berated Dulay during a House hearing for blaming a subordinate when he should be taking full responsibility for the fiasco.

For exposing the highly irregular tax compromise with Del Monte, Aranas was suspiciously transferred to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), allegedly to silence him.
Another BIR official, Othello Dalanon, assigned with the Office of the Commissioner, was allegedly dismissed from the service after talking in public about the irregular deals with Cosmos and Del Monte.


For the nth time, the President has cleared Secretary Mark Villar of corruption at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), saying the young man is too rich to steal the people’s money.

A DPWH insider snickered at Digong’s remark.

Villar, the source said, may not be a thief when it comes to government funds, but why is it that roads constructed pass near his family-owned subdivisions?

This made the value of the land in the Villar subdivisions go up exponentially, said the source.

“If that’s not graft and corruption, then what is it?” said the DPWH insider.

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