At the start of the Marcos Jr. administration in August 2022, Undersecretary Bernardino E. Sayo was appointed as the Presidential Legislative Assistant of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO). This is after serving in the government for almost 30 years in various capacities including Division Chief of the Office of the President.

The PMDP Senior Executives Class (SEC) Batch 3 – Sinagtala alumnus has always been passionate about his advocacy for executive-legislative collaborative relations. He served as Head Executive Assistant to the Presidential Legislative Adviser and as Secretary for three (3) legislative committees – Human Rights, Family Relations & Population, and Ethics. In 1986, he formed part of the Transition Management Team that founded the system of procedures of the post-EDSA Congress. Over the course of 13 years, he ascended to the esteemed position of Undersecretary (Deputy Minister) and emerged as the President’s Point-Person in the House of Representatives.

One of Usec. Sayo’s most significant achievements is the institutionalization of the Legislative Liaison System (LLS) across the national government bureaucracy. This innovation has streamlined communication and collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of government, ensuring that the people’s needs are met efficiently and effectively.

Throughout his illustrious career, Usec. Sayo has also been a sought-after resource for various organizations and institutions. He is a seasoned lecturer whose expertise transcends beyond the confines of academia, reaching the very hearts of the nation’s governance. From government officials to foreign delegations, his major lectures include the Legislative-Executive Relations in the Philippine Context, the Rudiments of the Legislative Process and the Art of Legislative Advocacy, and Law-Making at the National Level vs. the Local Legislative Councils. He also delves into specific case studies, such as the Political Management under the Estrada Administration. Additionally, his expertise is further underscored by his knowledge in international trade and investments policies, allowing him to provide insights into matters relating to ASEAN, APEC, AFTA, and WTO.

Usec. Sayo started his professional career as a Marketing-Economics-Finance Analyst at the Construction Development Corporation of the Philippines in 1980. He was the General Manager of White Linen International Apparel Corporation (1983 – 1986) and worked as Paralegal Officer and Executive Assistant in 1987 at the Sanchez, Rosales, Ella, Sanidad, Aquino, Padilla and Chua Law Firm.

Recognized with the prestigious “Most Outstanding Capstone Paper” Award from the Development Academy of the Philippines, his seminal work, crafted as part of the SEC for PMDP in 2015, encapsulates an exhaustive, evidenced-based examination of governmental shortcomings and policy deficiencies that impede the realization of critical facets within the Philippine Development Plan (PDP). His Capstone Paper serves as an enhanced accountability for the enactment of enabling legislation to support the PDP’s agenda and usher in substantial developmental outcomes for the nation.

He enthusiastically shared how dynamic his PMDP journey was, saying “when I heard the PMDP Call for Nominations for SEC Batch 3, I immediately applied for the Program. I got a lot of learning, such as developing analytical tools, learning how to use ICT since I was a late bloomer when it became the information highway, and dealing with different personalities.

The biggest hurdle he faced while in the Program was the demands of his work in which he had to report to Manila whenever he was needed by the Congress, PLLO, or by the Palace. He further added that the PMDP deepened his appreciation and love for the country and strengthened his passion to become the force of positive change. When asked what he would tell current, upcoming, and aspiring PMDP scholars, ”Their eyes have to be opened. Horizons need to be widened and the capacity to respond will be improved after going through the Program. So my message for those who are currently in the Program, just like how kids nowadays will say, ‘Push mo lang yan ‘te.’ Just keep the fire burning, try to influence others, and serve with a sense of mission.”

Usec. Sayo has a lengthy academic accomplishment as a scholar. He notes “I am a product of both public as well as the private educational systems.” His graduation from the University of Georgia’s Center for International Trade & Security in 2014, with a specialization in International Export Control Policy, laid the foundational support for a career marked by excellence. His relentless pursuit of knowledge took him to the International Law Enforcement Academy in Chang Rai, Thailand, in 1999, where the nuances of legislation to combat organized and transnational crimes were explored. Usec. Sayo’s journey extended to American University in Washington, D.C., in 1997, through the prestigious Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program offered by the Fulbright Scholarship Foundation, where he enriched his understanding of International Development Studies. His educational sojourn in the international arena can be traced back to 1983 when International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, became the source
of enlightenment for social policy studies, offering a global perspective that has flourished his work ever since. Even earlier, in 1980, the foundations of business management were laid at Ateneo de Manila University, where his academic prowess was recognized and nurtured, earning him the title of Academic Scholar from the Ng Lun Gat Foundation.