MANILA – The upcoming presidential term of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will be less like his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, and more similar to the administrations of Benigno Aquino III and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a political science expert said.
In the final podcast episode of ABS-CBN News' "HALALAN 2022 AND BEYOND" on Thursday, lawyer and former dean of the Ateneo School of Government Antonio "Tony" La Viña noted reports that familiar faces will be joining Marcos' Cabinet.
"Naririnig natin na mukhang 'same old, same old' ang mga ipapa-appoint e ... Some might have been appointees of (Noynoy) Aquino and GMA. So the moment that's done, sa tingin ko ... this government will be 'same old, same old' sa economic policies, sa economic management," La Viña said.
Marcos on Monday announced he nominated Philippine Competition Commission chairperson Arsenio Balisacan to head the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Balisacan was NEDA director-general and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary from 2012 to 2016 during Aquino's term.
Former labor secretary Bienvenido Laguesma was also offered to return to his position in the Department of Labor, which he led during the administration of former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada from 1998 to 2001.
La Viña believes elite political figures and professionals from esteemed institutions will be appointed in the Marcos Jr. administration, making his upcoming term more "traditionally elite" than the outgoing Duterte government.
Duterte came into power in 2016 after running on a campaign deemed by experts as populist, due to his charisma with ordinary Filipinos who felt their concerns were disregarded by the country's elite.
"Si Duterte kasi wala siyang network. Hindi siya intermarried. The Duterte family is not intermarried to the rich families of this country, was not related to the political clans of the country," La Viña said.
"You can expect ... Very predictable ang mangyayari. I would actually venture to say ... This is going to be closer to an Aquino government and a GMA government than to a Duterte government."
University of the Philippines Diliman political science professor Aries Arugay agreed with La Viña's analysis, saying he projects that the Marcos Jr. administration will be "more exclusive."
"Ang magiging (tanong) lang dito, will it be diversely exclusive ... Magiging diverse ba siya na familial ang connection o competence, or both or accommodationist?" Arugay said.
He said Marcos' Cabinet can still change, noting Duterte had a much different Cabinet when he began his term compared to his current one.
Arugay noted Duterte had leftist and progressive Cabinet members, who belong to groups that were and are still being red-tagged by the government.
"It's quite ironic that there was a time wherein you could red-tag the Cabinet of President Duterte," he said.
Marcos' Cabinet picks so far are his "best foot forward", Arugay said.
"The true test is maybe a year from now, kasi kapag nawala na 'yung smoke and mirrors, nakita na talaga, doon na lalabas ... Kasi mamaya 'yung ma-appoint placeholder muna e," he added.
Arugay noted a lot of political candidates allied with Marcos lost in this year's elections and may be appointed after the mandatory one-year ban of presidential appointments after the polls.
"Ang advise ko is 'tong Cabinet na 'to 'wag niyo masyado seryosohin ... It might not be the real Cabinet. Hintayin natin ng one year kasi maraming kandidato natalo ang maaaring ilagay, and that's where the real Cabinet is," he said.
Marcos has been called on to transform his popular support into a Cabinet reflective of his message of unity.
According to Dindo Manhit, president of research firm Stratbase ADR Institute, Marcos needs the "best, most able, most confident people to play a role in key Cabinet positions."
"He had a strong message of unity, it worked and brought about that strong support from the public. Now transform that legitimate support into a government that's formed with technocrats," he told ANC.
As of writing, Marcos has yet to complete his Cabinet appointments, but he noted that he is "lucky" as "some of the legal luminaries have expressed their willingness to join the government."
He emphasized he has "been very careful in choosing" his economic team.—With a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News