By Bernadette D. Nicolas, February 27 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

PRESIDENT Duterte has yet to appoint a new Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor, but Malacañang made an assurance that he will appoint someone competent and with integrity.

Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo said the Palace also expects the new BSP governor to continue the initiatives started by the late BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., who died last Saturday after battling cancer for a year.

Asked about the President’s expectations for the next BSP chief, Panelo said: “I suppose it’s the same—it’s the continuity of the work done by the previous governor.”

Aside from the progressive regulations he rolled out, Espenilla was known for championing financial inclusion, delivering financial services to the countryside and advancing electronic banking in the Philippines.

The Palace spokesman said the President will most likely visit the wake of the late BSP governor this week.

Panelo said he is not aware of a short list of potential candidates for BSP governor that was supposedly submitted to the President.

He made the statement in reaction to the pronouncement of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on Monday that there is already a short list of candidates for the position.

Panelo also dodged the question on whether the President is inclined to appoint an insider in the BSP. “If that’s the judgment call of the President, it’s his prerogative.”

Former BSP Governor Jose Cuisia said in a television interview that it would be good for the President to appoint an insider, noting that there are very competent people in the agency who can do the job.

Cuisia said he thinks Espenilla’s successor should also be able to continue the initiatives of the late BSP governor.

Among the presumed contenders for Espenilla’s post include three deputy governors—Diwa Guinigundo, Chuchi Fonacier and Cyd Tuano-Amador.

Tuano-Amador was designated by the Monetary Board as the BSP officer in charge until the President names Espenilla’s successor.

Prior to Espenilla’s appointment as BSP governor in 2017, Espenilla rose through the ranks in the BSP since joining the institution in 1981. He served 38 years in the BSP and used to describe himself as a “homegrown” product of the local Central Bank.