We elect Prexy & VP separately because it was felt crucial a potential successor should have an independent mandate. Result is since 1935, Presidents have been jealous of their Veeps because easier race means VP in a ticket usually gets more votes than President. Still true today.
This is particularly true of tandems since they are coalitions and the partners are always uneasy about who really holds the balance of power. The dilemma is what position, thus how much power, should the VP get and whether it will erode President’s authority or upset balance.
A President stingy with a cabinet appointment looks selfish but also, a VP who picks a quarrel with a President more often than not, loses popularity as the public expects them to be loyal to the President. So the dynamics remain uneasy and can rupture, often to the VP’s loss.
So a brief news cycle on May 11 gave an interesting insight into the dynamics of the newly-elected dynamic duo. It added to our appreciation of the two as they embark on the transition into assuming office because it happened in public.
Sara Duterte is a colonel in the Army reserves; perhaps being an officer made her believe, as she publicly stated in the campaign, she should be Secretary of National Defense. Let’s set aside the post not being in the chain of command or her having to relinquish her commission.
Dominance established, hierarchy underscored, who the pros and novices are, demonstrated. All in one day.
The “presumptive President-elect” has buried the “presumptive Vice-President-elect” in a bottomless pit of mind-numbing, soul-crushing, bureaucratic detail. The statement of Sara Duterte is more revealing than perhaps intended about the ease with which Marcos seems to have made promises (she told him about Defense before the elections) knowing that yesterday’s campaign promise is nothing compared to today making decisions as “presumptive president-elect.” As Duterte has found out.
As VP, Duterte’s appointment to DepEd requires no confirmation. But regardless of what she was told, she will discover the Education department isn’‘t one that moves quickly, but which also requires a lot of mind-crushing attention to paperwork and details. The President-to-be has painted a target on her back, putting her in the front lines of a battle for the memory of the nation. There may be few willing to die on that hill, but there are enough to make it even more unpleasant to head the department than it already will be, when she discovers what the work actually requires.
I’d said the whole pointless collision was a waste of time because the priority of the incoming president has to be assembling a credible economic team. Today a roster of potential appointees was floated: obviously to gauge public reactions, and also, to see if it will reassure the markets.
The last VP to Sec. of Education was the 1st VP, Sergio Osmeña, only it was known as the Department of Public Instruction and went to VP bec. prior to Commonwealth, it was the only cabinet post reserved for an American: the Vice-Governor-General. So it was considered prestigious.
After independence by tradition VP’s starting Quirino became Sec. of Foreign Affairs as it was No. 1 cabinet post: only exceptions were Fernando Lopez in 1949 & 1965 (Agriculture) and Diosdado Macapagal (1st non-tandem elected VP so punished by not being given any job by Garcia).
After VP was reestablished Pres. Aquino (Laurel) and Arroyo (Guingona) followed tradition, while VP’s Estrada, Arroyo, de Castro preferred other portfolios in line with their plans/preferences.
As a rule Presidents have preferred educators for the Education portfolio the exception being the appointment of Raul S. Roco by Pres. Arroyo after Edsa Dos. The logic for Sara Duterte may be that it is a good platform for future plans.
Again: we saw today future VP making public demands on her running mate, the future P., in public, when in a coalition this ought to be settled behind closed doors in a manner that leaves no one looking forced or ending up embarrassed. That it ended up the way it did says a lot.
On May 12, the postscript to the Marcos-Duterte came in the form of a long statement