The Two Padrinos of Transpo Sec Jaime Bautista

There are two reasons why the abominable performance of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista hasn’t ended in his dismissal. Even giving him the gall to threaten that his departure from service would damage President Bongbong Marcos’ image.

But first, let us revisit the failures of Bautista’s performance:

– The massive power outage at NAIA that left thousands of passengers stranded.
– Passenger shipping lines unable to operate due to issues with the Philippine Ports Authority.
– The LTO procurement mistake, which resulted in a shortage of plastic driver’s licenses and a court order to stop the contract to award a new supplier.
– The increase in MRT fares and privatization of the EDSA Carousel.
– Flagship transport projects that remain on the drawing board despite being in the second year of the Marcos administration.

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Most recently, the Ombudsman dismissed the former MIAA head Cesar Chiong, who was appointed based on Bautista’s recommendation. Chiong plans to appeal the decision, further reflecting poorly on Bautista.

Ordinarily, one could expect Bautista to be fired immediately after the NAIA power outage, but he has clung on to his post despite committing more blunders.

As I’ve said, there are two reasons why Bautista hasn’t been fired yet.

The first reason we got wind of via various circles is that names have been dropped, particularly that of first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and that of Ramon S. Ang. The second reason, we surmise, is that Bautista is just extraordinarily thick faced.

You see, in response to calls for his resignation and talk of a cabinet shake-up in May this year, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista simply stated that Cabinet secretaries serve at the pleasure of the president. While this may seem like a humble response, it actually hides his defiance and insistence on continuing his work.

A month later, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas official Thompson Lantion expressed his support for Bautista and suggested that firing him would damage the image of the Marcos Jr. administration.

Lantion’s comments may not have been a direct threat to President Marcos himself, but they certainly challenged the idea that Bautista’s performance displeased — or perhaps, horrified — the president.

Perhaps due to his humility and Ilokano idiosyncrasies President Marcos tolerates Bautista’s shortcomings such as a lack of circumspection, pagkukusang loob, delicadeza, and pakiramdam.

Bautista should realize that ignoring the public’s suffering at this point would be seen as psychopathic.

It would be more compassionate and patriotic for him to step aside and allow someone more qualified to take over, such as former LTO Chief Jay Art Tugade.

Tugade has already shown his dedication to improving the transportation system and has been praised for his plans to make it easier for motorists to avail its frontline services such as renewal of driver’s licenses as well as vehicle registration.

It is clear that there are better options available to President Marcos, and Tugade is one of them. Bautista’s reign at the DOTr has been abominable, and it is time for a change.

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