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Last few days

WITH media assiduously covering the incoming cabinet, who’s happier to step out of the picture than the outgoing cabinet?

Last Tuesday, Bro. Armin Luistro, DepEd secretary until next Thursday, told “the last cabinet meeting” of the Aquino government gathered at Sofitel hotel that “I will recover my soul,” using almost the same words of Miriam Defensor Santiago when she bade Senate reporters farewell, “Politics despoils the soul.”

That cabinet affair was a lunch sponsored by Maria Montelibano’s People Power Foundation to announce that 2,000 DVD’s of “The Aquino Legacy” will be distributed to 2,000 public schools. In the words of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, better known among Malacañang insiders as the “Father of Perpetual Help” where receiving urgent fiscal and moral support is often a case of life-and-near-death, the DVD aims to teach the young generation “how far we have come in our efforts to effect social and political reforms,” told in the words and images of ordinary Filipinos who have tasted positive change in their lives.

Mr. Ochoa, one of the few executive secretaries who have lasted the full term of their boss, the President of the Philippines, jokingly described his lunch partners – a dozen of the 24 in the cabinet were present – as “men who no longer matter,” now that it’s Team Duterte making the news and cooking the soup.

As Mr. Luistro put it, the price of working in government is the realization that “it’s a thankless job.” (He would have reaped endless thanks if his alma mater had cooperated with MMDA in NOT turning Ortigas Ave. into a parking lot on schooldays at dismissal time.)

At the end of the day, the Most Thankless Job Award would have to go to BIR chief Kim Henares. Last Monday evening, President Aquino showed journalists a sample of Ms. Henares’ long texts reporting the bureau’s next target, complete with details of what sort of evasion, how much in unpaid taxes, penalties, etc. BIR, incidentally, is one of the President’s favorite departments, the first that he mentioned being DoST, followed by DPWH, DoT, DoH.