A veteran of 11 years as chief of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Tetangco, 63, has brought inflation down to the lowest in two decades, boosted foreign reserves more than four-fold and navigated the economy through the 2008 global financial crisis without it falling into recession.

Rodrigo Duterte

incoming Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte

With his term coming to an end in July 2017, Tetangco’s challenge now is sustaining those successes through uncertain times. Rodrigo Duterte, a tough-talking mayor who is only just beginning to give more clarity on his economic plans, won the May 9 presidential election, heightening risks in the Southeast Asian economy. Investor concern ahead of the vote prompted the currency to fall and stocks to slide.

 “During this transition period with a lot of uncertainty over possible policy changes, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas acts like an anchor for investors,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “Tetangco certainly has tremendous credibility. He has a very impressive track record, steering the economy through uncertainties with a steady hand.”

Duterte’s comments about the central bank ahead of the election had already raised warning bells. He said the bank and anti-money laundering unit that Tetangco heads will be in “hot water” should he become president because they are suspected of having been the source of information that Duterte allegedly had hidden wealth. Read more