The man who could be the next central bank governor has been out of most everyone’s radar, except, perhaps, by the main man in Malacañang whose first language is just like the President’s—Bisaya. No one has paid him mind because all talk and speculation had been on Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr.’s two deputies, who are certainly most qualified to take the helm after July 3 this year when the top dog bows out of service, and on two other favorites whose own qualifications are some of the most impeccable in the business.
But like certain events in life, lightning does strike in the most unexpected places. Consider that the President speaks the same language as the contender and that they happen to be more than just acquaintances. In fact, we have been told the President himself sought him out once on an important question that he initially dismissed as mere friendly banter. When pressed, he gave the President an answer that in the vernacular goes: wa gyud anganga! In jest, of course.
The contender knows banks and knows the macroeconomic landscape both as a former regulator himself and as private-sector player in excellent professional standing. Not a whiff of financial scandal as far as we know of this seasoned investment banker and economist whose career spans 42 years more or less, including a stint early on at the accounting firm SVG in 1969. While he started as government bureaucrat under then-Secretary Arturo R. Tanco at the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the man knows export manufacturing and trading as an entrepreneur himself at one time. But he is best known as banker of considerable talent having successfully destroyed, in tandem with the central bank, a patently illicit undertaking that cost the regulator some P12 billion before the astute use of market forces and timely release of information finally put out the fire and the scam bag sent to prison.
This unfolded while a string of domestic bank closures in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 eventually forced the recalibration of charters to foolproof regulatory agencies down the line. The list of this man’s achievements is quite long but while he is not from San Beda, he did graduate with honors, cum laude, at the Ateneo with a BA in Economics and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management.
Some say Jose C. Nograles, “Jopot” to friends, has the professional background and training of one fit to take the helm of the BSP. The President certainly knows him. One never knows. After all, the rains could pour in July and such an event is usually preceded by thunder and lightning.