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