The once amicable relationship between Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla seemed to have taken an icy turn during the recent unveiling of new coins at Malacañang on Monday (June 5).
A Babbler said the atmosphere was thick with unease as the noticeable snubs between Diokno and Medalla raised eyebrows and sparked speculation of a cold war between the two former colleagues from the University of the Philippines School of Economics, where Diokno holds the title of professor emeritus and Medalla served as a former dean.
Attendees couldn’t help but notice the uneasy atmosphere as Diokno and Medalla appeared to make deliberate efforts to go out of their way to ignore each other while President Bongbong Marcos launched a commemorative coin set for the 125th anniversary of the Philippine Independence and Nationhood (APIN).
What was once a friendly and cooperative partnership had now devolved into an uncomfortable standoff, apparently due to Diokno’s earlier comments regarding speculation on the next BSP Governor, which reportedly did not sit well with Medalla.
A Babbler revealed that Medalla took offense at Diokno’s remark in a Bloomberg article (published earlier that day), where Diokno stated that the “replacement should always be better than the incumbent.”
However, it should be noted that Diokno also acknowledged in the same interview that Medalla himself might be considered for reappointment once his term concludes in July.
Diokno further emphasized that the ideal candidate for the future Governor of the BSP should possess a distinguished background in economics and enjoy international recognition, rather than having a previous background in banking.
Meanwhile, Diokno himself expressed reluctance about returning to his former post, stating, “I’m almost sure that I’m going to stay.” Diokno also revealed that he has made a recommendation for the BSP post to the President, but he chose not to disclose the individual’s identity.
Given that it was only a year ago when Diokno recommended Medalla, who was then a member of the Monetary Board, to succeed him as BSP Governor, the current estrangement between these once-close friends begs the question of what transpired between them. Or is an invisible hand driving a wedge between the two friends?
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