This page will bring you some insights from other people in philippine politics and in the coming May 2004 elections.

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Experienced or Inexperienced?

By: BRYAN M. AZURA    (January 16, 2004)

            Supreme Court finally decided to cancel the contract on the purchase of computer machines apparently to be used in the May polls from Mega Pacific. A bill has been even filed in the Congress by a Tarlac Congressman that the elections be postponed to May 20 instead of the original slate on May 10, this year. Commission on Elections, however, assured the public that with or without the computers or counting machines, elections would be pushed through.

            Whatever the circumstance may be, the elections should take place on May 10, 2004.

            An election, despite our frequent exercise of it (filipinos vote at least almost every other year), always has been clouded with so many chaos, intrigues and troubles. Protests, complains, smear campaigns, quarrels, disorganizations or splits among political groups, vote buying and even to the point of killing one another are just but some of those that spoil the regular exercise of suffrage of Filipinos.

            One of the most prominent sources of debate when election comes is the issue on the qualification of candidates. “He’s not a college graduate so he can’t serve no better in the government,” says one. “He has no experience in public service,” adds another, “ that’s why he should not pursue his bid in the polls.” A third man comments also, “he can not even speak straight English. Why would he dare entering politics?”

            Candidates are scrutinized by people from all of walks of life according to their qualifications. Interestingly, education and experience in public service (also associated with politics) are the basic qualifications mentioned frequently in public debates.

            Experience and education of a particular candidate is an edge. While it is true that Matthew, Peter, James and John are prominent among the disciples of Jesus Christ in his earthly mission, it’s Paul, a learned and religiously experienced man, who wrote most of the books in the New Testament. This could just be true in elective offices. While many inexperienced and “uneducated” people serve in the government, educated ones supposedly have the edge in the public service.

            In this competitive modern society, experience and education always go in together. An establishment that looks for a sales man or woman most of the times requires the applicant to be at least a college student, if not, a graduate and should have at least a year or more of experience.

            Individuals who have not gone through the formal education process are placed in the lowest class in the society. In the past, they are called as the “alipin” group, the most inferior cluster in the communal order. Datu and timawa groups enjoy privileges that alipin could not. Say that system has long been gone with the equality one, still it does exist maybe with only some modifications.

            No wonder why when election comes, experience and education are issues of big weight. As a believer of education, I myself believe that these two are imperative. The great America rose to where it is now primarily because of education. Other nations that grew into where they are now have been helped because of knowledge empowerment among the inhabitants.

            Maybe some will disagree with me but whether one likes it or not, education and experience play vital functions in the progress of many nations.

            The question now arises – “What about the unlearned and inexperienced, can they not run in any public office?” As far as the present political situation in the country, Fernando Poe Jr., now running as president of the republic, according to many critics, no doubt has the heart to serve our countrymen but he has no educational credentials to guarantee us of a smooth governance in case he wins. Besides, he has no experience whatsoever in any public office.

            In spite of these, the Comelec did not consider him as a nuisance candidate. Why? Because as far the Philippine Constitution is concerned, he is qualified to run.

            Thus, the issue on experience and education during elections become baloney when we stick to the Constitution. So, who should be blamed then? Is it FPJ? Is it the amateurish and the green? The answer is clear-cut. It’s no.

            So who then should answer this issue? How about looking at those who revised the Constitution in 1987? Most probably they are the ones who should answer this issue. Why did, of all, they fail to see the outcome of the electoral provision in the Constitution?

            Meantime, as far as the book governing the Republic of the Philippines is concerned, FPJ is a valid candidate. Besides, how come the issue on education and experience is not a concern in local elections? Yes, look at some public officials in Region 8 and you’ll find countless individuals who have not even reached high school yet they are now in their third term in service.

            In short, let’s debate on experience and educational qualifications of candidates when the Constitution is amended. Is it hard to understand?

 

 

 

Casualties from making a choice for President

By ROGER C. SORIA     (October 31, 2003)

“…one who should aspire for such national posts should be one with integrity, performance, excellent academic background, knowledge and experience in policy-making, and good leadership qualities, they are violating the Philippine Constitution”.  

            Nothing in the Philippine Constitution of 1987, or in previous Constitutions, preclude a member of the elite class of our society or the poorest of the poor from trying one’s lick in any of the national positions contestable in an election.  Just anybody who meets the prescribed Constitutional requirements can run for Senator, Vice-President, or President of the Republic of the Philippines.  There is no educational prequalification, neither prior experience nor education, not even performance.

When the elite and the intellectual who pretend to belong to the elite (which is a psychotic aspiration by everyone who goes to a class – read “high-tuition fee-demanding” – high school or college, to be considered as a member of the “in” crowd or part of the “high class society”) argue that one who should aspire for such national posts should be one with integrity, performance, excellent academic background, knowledge and experience in policy-making, and good leadership qualities, they are violating the Philippine Constitution.  They insinuate that such are the qualifications (criteria) by which any Filipino national aspirant could be judged as eligible for candidacy.  That is a constitutional crime, and those committing it are therefore criminals against the State and the Filipino people.

I have not been formally enrolled in the College of Law, although I intend to as it is my personal dream to become a lawyer myself – and I mean lawyers who can educate the masses to interpret the law as it is expressed, but never by how it may be interpreted, because interpretation of any law (ordinance, statute, or law) is unlike any newspaper or television or radio editorial (which is the media’s bias).  However, I read laws, in legal books, in citations made by the local judicial courts and the Supreme Court (like those appearing in the Supreme Court Reports Annotated or SCRA and digests made on decisions hand down by the Highest Tribunal, or even the law on elections that are followed by the Commission on Elections.

From my readings enriched by explanations and discussions, even in drinking sprees, with some friendly lawyers and those studying law in college, I draw my learnings of the Philippine laws including the Constitutional Law which covers all the Philippine Constitutions.  Mind you, I have even cared to read the American Constitution.  But I am more knowledgeable of our own Charter, including the Local Government Code of 1991 which was fathered by Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.  Thus, I can argue, from the legal viewpoint, and in fact, I can advise barangay officials and teachers what they should do according to law.  That makes me more qualified and credible than any elementary school teacher or barangay official who has not even mastered a single legal provision, even the provision on the qualifications required for one to become a President. 

In this country where most of the electors (those eligible to vote) come from the peasant sector- farmers who produce the food which the rich or the elite also eat of which more than 60 percent have barely gone through grade six, or if they had been to high school they ended up simply as drop-outs because of acute poverty- only someone popular to them and close to their heart in many ways for decades or simply a sufficient period of time should deserve their vote.

But against proposition is the contradiction of the poor class - the elite whose enormous wealth is power wielded though politics and governance. The money of the elite and the bourgeois can sway votes in favor of the elite class’ choice and against the poor man’s candidate.  It is the elite that ruins the destiny of the poor.  It is the elite that castigates the uneducated.  It is the elite that keeps the poor always poor, and exploits the poor for the aggrandizement of the capitalists.

In a glaring situation, by example, the ruling elite class waving the argument that it knows better by its access to power and resources so that therefore it must be the one to decide on how houses of the poor or the homeless should be built and what particular food should they eat, what clothing should they wear and how they should wear it, where to go, and what to become, gives what the poor does not actually need according to their means and capability.

On the contrary, the poor working class, since first seeing the light – and soon realizing that the world in which they are supposed to enjoy the freedom to dream and decide for their own dream is constricted, and restricted, after all.  When the poor innocently or ignorantly infracts the regulations and standards set by the elite, by which some regulations and standards the elite are exempted, the poor goes to jail, or is branded as thief or now a terrorist.  What a sad plight for the poor!  God have pity on them!

In a dream that is the poor’s own to choose their own candidate for President, the elite make it a nightmare, and, like a paranoid, exaggerate that dream like the effects of AIDS or SARS.   

At this time when the poor – 2 million of them nationwide, and still increasing! – are identifying themselves with Philippine Action King Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ, Ang Panday) as their choice for President, the elite accuse them of being fools and ones who want to create havoc to the country’s economy. Whose economy? The elite class’ economy not the poor class’ economy.

Yes, they are two different things, which, by the way, are never taught properly in elementary, secondary and tertiary schools in the Philippines which are run under a system devised to serve the ends of the elite.  A poor class’ economy is defined in simple terms, by the poor, but that definition is rejected by the elite.  For instance, it means giving the poor a regular employment with a high pay, but the elite insists the poor could only be given a “casual” item, therefore, the elite class’ economy prevailing because anyway it is the elite class that rules (don’t you notice, only the rich can hold provincial chiefs’ positions? or pass pre-qualifying examinations for vacant positions, which are actually reserved by the elite for their fellow elite aspirants?)

This is the reason why quite every two or three months, many poor men and women hired as “casual laborers”, or under contract or job-order, become CASUALTIES.  They become CASUAL TIES OF THE ELITE CLASS ECONOMY.

When will the elite, and the social climbers, or pretenders be genuinely poor-people-oriented?

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