In the last few days, President Rodrigo Duterte has given government positions to some of his vocal celebrity supporters – Kat de Castro as Tourism Undersecretary and Arnell Ignacio as AVP for Community Relations and Service Department of PAGCOR. Singer Aiza Seguerra was reportedly offered a post, but declined. These appointments have received criticisms online and have been deemed by some as a “reward” for campaigning for Duterte.
But the appointment of Duterte’s celebrity supporters doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon when a few other names cropped up as new appointees.
On July 11, singer Jimmy Bondoc posted about his appointment on Facebook.
“Soon, I will officially be the AVP for ENTERTAINMENT for PAGCOR, a blessing that the Good Lord has assigned to me, through the power of our beloved President,” Jimmy wrote, as quoted by Manila Bulletin.
“I don’t mind people question the credentials of some of us appointees. I know that’s life,” Jimmy posted.
“However, I would also like to say that Entertainment is God’s gift to me. I know it back and forth, but I am also willing to learn much more these coming years. Natanggap na ako sa pagcor. Sana, matanggap niyo rin ako sa bago kong susubukan,” he wrote.
Entertainment site PEP.ph posted the screenshots of Jimmy’s Facebook post.
And if questioning his credentials wasn’t enough, the Philippine Daily Inquirer dissected Bondoc’s post defending himself and his appointment, pointing out the ways he mangled the English language. They pointed out how he described his Ateneo education from prep to college as “from the cradle to the grave” when this meant “from birth to death,” not appropriate to describe an education that starts at 4 years old and ends at around 21 years old. They also corrected Jimmy’s use of “back and forth” in knowing entertainment, when he could have meant “like the back of my hand.”
Rocker and businessman Ramon “RJ” Jacinto is one of the latest additions to Duterte’s list of celebrity supporters appointed to government positions. Jacinto composed the president’s campaign jingle, but is now upgraded to being the presidential adviser on economic affairs and information technology communications.
Jacinto rose to fame as a guitarist and rock and roll musician. He composed a jingle portraying Duterte as a “man of action without corruption.”He is also reported to be the owner of a radio and TV station and a company with businesses in real estate development, retail and manufacturing. Jacinto’s family founded Jacinto Steel, one of the pioneer manufacturers of galvanized iron sheets in the Philippines.
This is not the first time Jacinto held a government post. He served as the vice chairman of the presidential committee on flagship programs and projects under the Ramos administration.
But there were issues during his time with the government. According to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reports in 1998, Jacinto took advantage of his closeness to the Palace to take out huge loans from two government banks in 1994 and 1996 and even to arrange “deals.” The reports also said that Jacinto’s business partners filed charges against him for allegedly funneling funds from his the First Women’s Credit Corporation (FWCC), 60 percent of which he owned, to his other debt-ridden businesses. But Jacinto denied all charges.
Freddie Aguilar too?
According to Freddie Aguilar, Duterte’s camp has offered him to become the chief of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The veteran singer/songwriter, who is best known for his hit song “Anak,” said that the president’s executive assistant Bong Go called to offer him the NCCA post after he asked Duterte to open a new department of the culture and the arts and start a “cultural revolution.”
“Tinawagan ako ni Bong Go at sabi sa akin, ‘Sir Freddie, hangga’t wala pa po iyong department of culture and the arts na hinihingi po ninyo sa president ay puwede po bang kayo po muna ang mamahala sa NCCA?” Aguilar told ABS-CBN style=”width:60%!important”on July 11.
Sabi ko, “Sige, kung iyon ang ia-assign sa akin ng president, gagawin ko iyon muna,” Aguilar said.
On the revolution that he wanted to start, he said, “Sabi ko, ito lang po iyong revolution na walang mamamatay. Ang ibig sabihin ko po sa cultural revolution at pinapangarap ko po na ibalik ‘yung mga talagang Pilipino na pag-uugali natin, pati sining natin, pati panulat natin, ibalik sa atin ‘yun tinanggal sa atin ng mga banyaga.”
Duterte has previously revealed that Aguilar is one of his favorite singers and that he loves the way the singer/songwriter shows his love for the country through his lyrics.
However, the NCCA has yet to make an official announcement about Aguilar’s possible position in the council.
When news about these appointments broke, some netizens don’t have that many positive words about them.
Some were even joking about whether this is all about the new appointees’ singing and entertainment skills.
Once Aguilar’s appointment is confirmed, the Duterte administration will have three musicians with three new government positions. But will there be a fourth musician to get appointed? Perhaps in the person of Mocha Uson, who declared herself a Die-hard Duterte Supporter (DDS)?