The bane of post election rights PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 October 2015 13:39

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Only in the Philippines that an elected official who runs for a higher position and is defeated is allowed to go back to take his position. If a senator runs for president,  and is defeated,  he can always take back his Senate seat. Same thing going down the ladder in the local government units. If a barangay chairman runs for municipal or city councilor and lost the elections, he can always go back to his former post as an elected barangay chairman. It is a juicy provision allowed by the DILG, COMELEC and the Local Government Code for elected officials. In the strictest sense of this juicy provision, it is a monopoly made legal by our government for elected officials. Now on third reading in the Senate is the “Anti-Dynasty Law” that prohibits more than one member of a political family to occupy elective position in the government. This is a good law if  enforced strictly, but, it is useless if it will be enforced selectively. The Anti-Dynasty Law will not cure monopoly in elected government positions if another law promotes monopoly.

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Those in the public career service must resign from their position in government if they wish to be candidates in an election. If they are defeated, they lose their career. But, after one year and if they are well connected they can go back to the public service. By that time everything is already different because you may have another position in government far different from the position that you resigned from. To those defeated public servants without connections, it is goodbye to their careers. This is one loophole in our laws because the “equal protection of the law” principle, a constitutional guarantee, is not always true.

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October 2015 is the month of filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC). Many will file for city councilors in the city and some of them are incumbent barangay chairmen. They are bold enough to file COC for a higher position since they will not lose anything. They can simply go back to their chairmanship if defeated and so with those from other higher echelons of elective positions in the country, who plan to run for higher elective positions they will not lose anything when they are defeated. They are indeed the “Jumping Jupiters”  of the land.

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The rationality of some of our laws is confusing. There are so many agencies of government that have duplicate functions that tend to mixed up its enforcement. The Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned in cities, provinces and municipalities, administratively are supposed to be under a local government unit but operationally with the PNP National Directorate  and PNP policies emanate from the National Police Commission (Napolcom) but are all under the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). All other government agencies have the same situation. In a public wharf, we have the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG),Bureau of Customs (BoC), MARINA, Maritime police and PPA. When smuggled goods or other problems happened at the wharf all of these agencies are there, each agency speaking of their jurisdictions. “Too many cooks, spoil the broth.”

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COMELEC must scrutinize COCs in  this coming elections. “Tuwid na Daan” must not only for their political enemies but must start at the smallest unit of government — the barangays. The problem of corruption must be “Nippped from the bud”. Modernizing and computerizing the election in the Philippines  is not a guarantee to eliminate corruption because computers are “garbage in and garbage out” and machines can be manipulated, their brains are man-made.

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Scoop: Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City Mayor, is running for President, This will be a big problem for most of our local candidates. Tthey will all be torn between party loyalty and “amor propio”  because Duterte is from Mindanao and for the first time someone from Mindanao is running for President. Former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez from Cagayan De Oro was not able to declare his intention for President because Mindanao was divided, our former Congressmen during that time were not solidly for VP Pelaez. Now is the chance with Duterte,  a pure Mindanaoan. Please agree.