The Parkinson's Law of Political Appointments

The Human Development Network (HDN) recently released the Philippine Human Development Report (PHDR 2008/2009). Very interestingly and disconcertingly, the report revealed that the Philippine bureaucracy is getting bloated and bloated over time, with a lot of dysfunctions
interplaying between the civil service rules and the political appointment practices by top government officials. So many overlaps in government bodies, and irrational positions for presidential consultants, presidential advisers and presidential assistants in practically every agency everywhere in Philippine government. Some interesting findings of the HDN report:

  1. There are about 10,000 positions reserved for presidential appointments. Very open for abuse by political wielders.
  2. There are only 163 prescribed or mandated positions for Cabinet Undersecretaries (USecs) and Assistant Secretaries (ASecs) in the entire government, but actually appointed USecs and ASecs already reached 222. There is an excess appointment of 59 USecs/ASecs comprising nearly 30% of the total appointees.
  3. Of the 222 appointed USecs/ASecs, about 113 (or more than 50%) are found not eligible in their positions. This means that only less than half are eligible or qualified, as prescribed by civil service rules. This means that there are many political appointees who are not qualified in their positions. Peter Principle?
  4. There are about 24 cabinet departments or agencies included in the report, and about 13 have excess USec/ASec appointees.
  5. Given the normal overhead requirements (staff salaries, office maintenance, discretionary funds etc) of 722,000 pesos per year, the excess appointments cost the government an extra 58 million pesos a year.

This is just the appointment for USecs and ASecs, which is just a portion of the 10,000 positions reserved for presidential and political discretion. We are not yet talking of the other appointive positions in government. And we are not talking yet of the political appointments in LGUs.

What can explain this phenomenon? Is this a test-case of the Parkinson's Law? A Parkinson's Law of Political Appointments in the Philippines, brought about by unbridled political accommodation? Can this be a Parkinson's Law of Bureaucratic Corruption?

Indeed, work expands to fill the time and space available! The Philippine government gets bloated and more bloated!

The Parkinson's Law is at work!