Purging is a sad political reality

“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.” – Francis of Assisi

WHEN a new administration takes over, the “purging” of the roster of employees and department heads usually takes effect along with the edict to refurbish the executive office and its environs.

Those who have been identified with the losing bets (who are the incumbents) in the just-concluded elections–or those who had openly helped campaign for the losers–would be in danger of being awarded the chopping block’s priority seats.

Partisan career employees and department chiefs, however, would have the civil service law on their side to protect and “rescue” them; their “punishment” would most likely be only a reassignment and demotion, to some extent, once the major reshuffling’s sharp blade rolled down.

Casual and co-terminus employees, on the other hand, would have nothing to lean on; they would have no legal shields from the incoming administration’s “washing machine” which would soon flush them down and out of employment.

The house-cleaning is normally done to pave the way for fresh appointments of staff and co-terminus consultants who will serve at the pleasure of the newly-elected governor or mayor.

Vindictive politicians will always justify the carnage or the “changing of the guards” as a normal episode in a transition of power in any administration–local and national.  




Since Iloilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. will only turn over the key of power to his son, outgoing Iloilo third district Rep. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr., capitol workers–casual and permanent–can heave a sigh of relief when Governor Toto assumes office in June.

There may have been a very few who committed a “treachery”, in one way or the other, during the recent election campaign period, but in the spirit of magnanimity and compassion, Governor Toto will just probably shrug off any immediate suggestion or move for a “disciplinary action”, at least for the time being.

Many of those who had risked their civil service career and future during the arduous campaign period would probably be rehired, promoted, and given permanent positions.

To the victor belongs the spoils.




We’re worried most for those who have been identified with outgoing Iloilo City mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III.

Many of them are still very much active, productive, and effective in their city hall jobs.

In his statement on radio immediately after being confirmed as the winner over Mayor Joe III,  incoming mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas emotionally lashed at “some (city hall) department heads and employees” who had been allegedly “used” or “allowed themselves to be used” openly to campaign for the incumbent mayor and to purportedly vilify Treñas.

Many of those city hall subalterns and partisan department chiefs referred to by Treñas can always claim they were “only forced by the circumstance” or “caught in the crossfire” and their actions and activities during the elections weren’t necessarily meant to wilfully and intentionally hurt Treñas.

But politics is cruel. 

It’s either you belong on the white side or on the black side, not whether you intend to inflict injury to the opposing candidates.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)