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FIRING LINE: The ‘bayaw’ appointment

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

For Filipinos who were hopeful that this Marcos we now have in Malacanang is different from the dictator we had half a century ago, keep dreaming.

Earlier this month, President Junior appointed his brother-in-law, Joseph Donato Bernedo, as the CEO of the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (Phividec) Industrial Authority for a term of three years.

The hushed announcement by the Philippine Information Agency did not even mention that Atty. Bernedo happens to be the husband of presidential sister Aimee Marcos. So, Bernedo’s primary qualification seems to be his familial connection: a classic case of nepotism.

Who’s not to raise brows when merit and fairness appear to take a backseat when family ties secure positions? Still, the naive may let this pass, thinking the appointment is remotely a position of power compared to the central government.

But, the significance lies in the Marcoses’ desire for a foothold in Mindanao, leveraging the Phividec’s vast industrial estates and infrastructure for political gain.

While laws exist to combat nepotism, it seems BBM cannot help but shed what could be embedded in the Marcos genes. After all, the elder Marcos they called “Apo Ferdie” appointed his own half as governor and minister, his wife designated to human settlements, and his daughter enjoyed a chairmanship. 

Let’s not forget Pacifico Marcos, the epitome of family favoritism, who Apo Ferdie appointed as the head of the Philippine Medical Care Commission. He sat comfortably in that position for a long 12 years. 

As Forbes wisely put it, nepotism ensures power remains within the family’s grasp. And it appears the son is following the same old template, treating the government like a cozy family business.

NBI scandal

For those who haven’t read this story, Jad Dera, who is a co-accused in the drug case of former senator Leila de Lima, was caught outside of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention facility last week.

Of course, we find Dera’s lawyer defending his client’s innocence, claiming a search for a doctor as the reason for their escapade.

But once before, Firing Line had already exposed the connivance of some high-profile detainees with NBI personnel assigned to the detention facility. A protection ring exists within and skins off weekly “contributions” from detainees, allowing the entry of booze, cell phones, and even “good-time girls.”

Apparently, this scheme has become so ordinary that NBI personnel and their favored detainees are getting sloppy.

I’d like to believe Department of Justice (DOJ) Spokesperson Mico Clavano’s statement that heads will roll in the NBI due to this scandal. But it is a big scandal that this has been happening under the DOJ’s nose.

 I will eagerly await the unveiling of this twisted conspiracy and wonder how high up the chain of command this scandal extends.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at

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