LOOKING IN : The political circus has begun PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 October 2012 14:08

BY ROD BALBON

Starting today up to Friday midnight, thousands upon thousands of candidates would flock the offices of the Comelec nationwide to file their respective Certificates of Candidacy.

Up for grabs will be the 17,937 national and local elective positions in the coming May, 2013 elections. To be contested are 12 senatorial seats, 229 congressional seats (not yet included here is the quota or seats reserved for the party lists), 80 governor seats, 766 provincial board members, 1,634 city and municipal mayoralty seats, 1,634 vice-mayoralty seats, and 13,502 city and municipal councilor seats.

For Zamboanga City, up for grabs will be the two congressional seats, the Mayoralty, the Vice-Mayoralty, and 16 Councilor seats. There will be new faces but the way I see it, the need for quality candidates is wanting. For many years now, we are foisted with candidates who are way below our criteria, candidates who are failures in their professions and totally incompetent to hold public office but elected because of money, popularity, cunning, machination, and the use of threat and intimidation. I recall one of my college professors when he said that the doors of public office have now been reduced to a popularity or beauty contest.

Because of these, our dream for a peaceful and prosperous city remains, until now, a dream. Our lives are ruined and we are helpless, continually sinking deeper into the morass incompetence and dirty politics.

While this expressed opinion may sound objectionable and too presumptuous to many, considering that we are not the only ones who should judge who shall bid and be elected for public office, our Congress should clean this mess and amend our present antiquated electoral laws with prudent and stringent provisions pertaining to qualifications for candidacies to public office.

Our election law simply provides that any Juan, Pedro, or Josefa can run for public office if he or she is of age, Filipino, can read and write, and must be of good moral character. With regard to the last requirement, I’m appalled at how our Comelec and regular courts interpret this because many of those who were convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude are still allowed to run for public office. Can a person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and has serve his time be deemed a man of good moral character? Definitely not by any standards!

Ever wonder why for the past decades, because of this wide democratic latitude, our august halls of Congress, and local elective seats have been dotted with all kinds of candidates, not only incompetents but dafts, dumbs, eccentric, and lunatics. Definitely something must be done to stop the alarming wholesale incursion of these pests into public service. This is not anymore a joke. Just right in our august Sangguniang Panglunsod (City Council), we already have some of them.

Another example is our Zamcelco. The government politicized the selection of the members of the Board of Directors with district elections. Look who won? Of course the popular Barangay Captains, who, with no knowledge and training to formulate corporate policies, plans and programs of a multi-billion electric cooperative. The result: multi-million debts, frequent blackouts, monumental theft of electricity, and what have you. Its salami.

We, the sovereign electorate of the city, must likewise be discerning in the in choosing our leaders. We must not only think of ourselves as “voters” but as a community of the entire living population not only with predecessors and successors but with the common dream and aspiration to live in peaceful and prosperous community. Remember our fast-growing city, with almost one million residents, has become too complex and demanding to be entrusted to people who have not been properly educated and reared in statecraft. 

While it may be true that in a democracy, every citizen must have the right to sell to the electorate his platform of government for the governance of the city, regardless of what others may think about it or his qualifications, it would not likewise be amiss for us to demand that they must also be fully prepared, qualified, and competent for public service, beyond just being of age, able to read and write, Filipino, and of good moral character.

It is hope that these new politicians who will troop to the Comelec office today until Friday will present before us a credible case to validate their political ambitions.

RUDE AND DISGUSTING: Others say it is impolite. Congresswoman Beng Salazar and Mayor Celso Lobregat are vigorously asking some influential people to convince Congressman Erbie E. Fabian not to run for City Mayor and Councilor Lilia Nuño not to run for Congress in the 2nd District of the city in the coming May 2013.

If what they are saying that Beng Salazar is the stronger candidate than Erbie Fabian, then why bother and ask him not to run? Ditto with Jomar Lobregat.

Last Wednesday evening, Sec. Lou Antonino, after allegedly meeting with Mayor Celso at the Garden Orchids Hotel, went down to meet Erbie Fabian at the Hanazono Restaurant with the same request that if possible he should not run for City Mayor. She was accordingly instructed by no less than DILG Sec. Mar Roxas and, hold your breath, Pres. Pnoy Aquino. Nag name-dropping pa!

They’ve filed a disqualification case against Romy Jalosjos so he can’t run for City Mayor and now they’re also asking Erbie not to run.

Cosa clase de politica este? They want their positions in a silver platter.It would have been alright if these officials have performed very satisfactorily during their terms but they haven’t. The people are already fed up with their kind of dirty politics and poor leadership.  Unstable peace and order, unconscionable high taxes, frequent floods, high prices of basic goods and commodities, city of beggars and crazy people are the hallmarks of this present city administration.

In the case of Beng Salazar, she sorely lacks the sincere virtue of helping people. Moreover, she has already shown that she cannot decide crucial or gut issues while she was in the City Council. What more can she do as Mayor. Right now, she has already shown that she can just be manipulated by Celso Lobregat who salivates to be back as Mayor in 2016.

Stop all these back-channeling and present yourself and your scorecards for the scrutiny of the sovereign people of the city. Public office is not a property that can just be transferred from one person to another.