Press Release
April 26, 2008


Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday deplored reports that the Philippine Civil Service has been "severely battered and enfeebled by political appointments and political interference resulting in pervasive demoralization and inefficiency in the civil service."

Loren disclosed that she is preparing a resolution calling for a Senate investigation into the "assaults against civil service integrity, undermining the very foundations of good government."

She explained that "The civil service is the basic structure of our public administration and when it is weakened, undermined or damaged, the whole foundation of sound government management and good governance falls."

According to Loren, the "inescapable consequences of a severely battered and weakened civil service are government inefficiency, corruption, injustice, economic stagnation and social disarray."

Senator Legarda made the statement following publication of a report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism that the Office of the President has appointed numerous government officials and employees without the proper civil service qualifications and in excess of the number of political appointments allowed by law.

The report cited the disclosure of newly retired Civil Service Commission chairwoman Katrina David that 113 of the 203 undersecretaries of the Arroyo government were ineligible based on civil service qualifications.

It also cited a 2004 study by the World Bank Public Sector Group that "the depth of political appointees" in the Philippines has dipped into the level of service director, regional director and bureau director which are considered career civil service positions. Yet, according to the World Bank, the practice has not resulted in "bureaucratic capability."

The Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) has denounced the continuous poaching of civil service positions by political appointees of the administration. It also denounced the planned retrenchment of thousands of government employees, saying that the political appointees should be the first to go.

COURAGE said that the "constant poaching into the civil service bureaucracy by powerful politicians through the intervention of Malacanang and other political centers of power has caused general demoralization, despair and anxiety among civil service employees."

Loren warned that unless the "original purposes of the civil service are restored and the purity of the civil service upheld, government services will continue to deteriorate due to general demoralization among the career civil servants and the incompetence of the political appointees who are not qualified by reason of background, training and most important, motivation."

Loren stressed that under the Constitution, "appointments to the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined, as far as practicable, and except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical by competitive examination."

Loren also declared that the Constitution mandates the Civil Service Commission to "establish a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service."

However, she bemoaned, that the career service had been "battered and severely damaged" by political appointees from Malacañang and other political institutions, like Congress and local elective officials, resulting in gross inefficiency and endemic corruption in the civil service administration.

"Congress must therefore take the initiative to repair the damage done to the civil service and restore it as a strong bulwark of good and effective governance," she declared.

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