Purging is a sad political reality

Posted by watchmen
May 17, 2019
Posted in OPINION

“If a superior give any order to one who is under him which is against that man’s conscience, although he do not obey it yet he shall not be dismissed.” –St. Francis of Assisi


When a new administration takes over they often “purge” the existing department heads and staff, along with a refurbishment of the executive office. Those associated with the losing side (or those who campaigned for the unsuccessful candidate) are in danger of facing the chopping block. However, partisan career employees have the civil service law on their side and instead of “punishment,” they may only be reassigned or demoted.

Casual, or contract, employees have nothing to lean on and the incoming administration will soon flush them out.

Such housekeeping is done to pave the way for new appointments; those who will serve the newly-elected governor or mayor.

Vindictive politicians always justify the carnage as a “changing of the guard” and normal during a transition.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. will be turning over power to his son, outgoing Iloilo third district Rep. Arthur Defensor, Jr.—relief for those currently working at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. While there may be a few who committed treachery during the campaign period, the new governor will likely shrug off any “disciplinary action” (for the time being).

Many who risked their civil service career and future during the campaign period will probably be rehired, promoted, and given permanent positions.

Most worrying are those linked with outgoing Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III. While many are still very much active, productive, and effective in their jobs, a recent statement by Iloilo City Mayor-elect Jerry Treñas, after lashing out at City Hall employees who were “used” or “allowed themselves to be used” to campaign against him, asserted many will claim they were “forced by the circumstance” or “caught in the crossfire” as an explanation for their actions.

Politics is cruel. Either you belong on the white side or black side, not whether you intend to inflict injury to opposing candidates.



Alex P. Vidal, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ


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