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Leaving the government for good – Atty JBJ

Bilang OFWs at bilang mga Pilipino tayo ay nagpapasalamat kay Atty JB Jimenez sa tapat at mahusay nyang pagserbisyo sa atin bilang isang kawani ng gobyerno. Nakakalungkot na nabawasan ng matino at masipag na tao ang ating pamahalaan samantalang yong mga hindi deserving ay mga kapit tuko pa rin.  Mula sa aming puso maraming maraming Salamat Atty JBJ!  – Patnubay Online

Leaving the government for good by: Atty JB Jimenez
Source: DIRECT FROM THE LABOR FRONT By Atty Josephus Jimenez

I left the government service last June 4 after a total tenure of 20 years – four years in the judiciary and 16 in the Department of Labor and Employment. I have earlier retired from the corporate world also, after 20 years as corporate lawyer and HR manager and executive, and as Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs in Petron (Petrophil before) and PNOC, San Miguel Corporation and Pepsi Cola Philippines, respectively.

It is not easy to say goodbye to public service, with all the tremendous challenges, pains and intangible rewards. But life is short and I miss my family. I have seen the light. Life is not just work. There is a lot more to it than the rat race. It is time to smell the flowers with my loved ones.

I can assure one and all that I did not make dishonest money in government. In fact, my net worth decreased substantially after I rejoined the government in 2002. I declared everything in my SALN, including my unexplained poverty. During the last 10 years of my government stint, I had to unload some of the assets that I built for 20 years in the business world. I had to sell my San Miguel stockholdings and gave up my board membership in some private corporations and universities. I had to resign from my business enterprises and gave up many lucrative consultancies. It must have been crazy. My boss in Pepsi told me that I was crazy trying to be employed by a “bankrupt” bureaucracy.

My first government job was as a court interpreter at the age of 19, while I was a law student at night. After I graduated and passed the Bar, I went to Manila, and I was offered a job as Labor Regulation Officer, then, Mediator- Arbiter by the Blas F. Ople, the Secretary of Labor. I was hesitant to accept because I already passed the interview at the Atlas Mining Legal Department. But Sec. Ople insisted and promised to have me appointed by the President as Labor Arbiter. That was in 1977, when I became a labor judge at the age of 27, the only Cebuano at that time, to be conferred that Presidential appointment.

Then, Sec. Ople sent me abroad in various conferences and seminars. He made me take the Career Executive Service Entrance Test. More than 2,000 took the tests from the entire bureaucracy and only 35 of us were chosen. Together with Portia Alinio-Hormachuelos, who later became Justice in the Court of Appeals, I studied for nine months in a live-in intensive and extensive executive course, which we completed at the top of our class. I was supposed to be appointed director but too much politics got in the way. Thus, I left the government and joined Petron and PNOC as Employee Relations Manager. I didn’t expect by then to rejoin the government.

After the EDSA Revolution, Mr. Andres Soriano III offered me a job as Director for Labor Relations in San Miguel Corporation. It was my mission to teach all line managers and supervisors how to manage people and how settle labor disputes. For 12 years, I did just that. He rewarded me and my family with a yearly all-expenses paid trip to USA and Europe, where I also attended courses in law and HR. Then I retired when Pepsi offered 14 SMC retirees to manage and turn-around that soft drinks firm. We were given an acceptance fee of P1 million each just to agree to join Pepsi.

I was doing well in Pepsi when the Secretary of Labor offered me the job of undersecretary to replace Art Brion who was joining the judiciary. I must have been crazy to accept a job with a salary that was only 10% of what I got in Pepsi. But life is not just money. I have to give back to the Lord all that I had received. And so, I served as Undersecretary from 2002 to 2005. Then I asked to be sent to foreign missions to serve the OFWs. I served in Malaysia, Kuwait and Central Taiwan for a combined term of six years. I fought for our migrant workers defended OFWs accused of crimes, taught them laws, values and I opened Sunday schools for OFWs.

Today, I am an old and tired man, but I am a much-fulfilled and satisfied one. My five children are all professionals with stable jobs and livelihood. I have a loving and supportive family, a lot of friends and relatives who value me for what I am and for what I stand for. I cannot ask for more. I have done my share of serving the people. I am leaving government. And it will be for good this time.