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Disciplining Gods

“In the end, near election time, it will be the politicians who have the bigger war chest and the more timely charismatic message who will win and lead us for the next three or six years.

Darren M. de Jesus

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I am frustrated. As a non-elected government official, I hold a position that was granted to me by a higher authority who was elected to that position and to whom I owe everything. I am blessed just as much as anyone who has received a decent government appointment, and I will work my best, to the fullest extent that I can, to ensure that government funds allocated as my salary is taxpayers’ money well-spent.

Elected officials are given higher ranking in our government structure since it is the ‘will’ of the people, thru their votes, that placed them there. And as one astute former President said, “Vox Populi Vox Dei,” which means the voice of the people is the voice of God, thereby further elevating their status as God-like messiahs. But what happens when these ‘gods’ break the laws that they helped craft? Are they not as liable as the street vendors, vagrants, and thieves in the slums?

Textbook answer is an absolute “yes.” We can throw the rulebook at you, the 1987 Constitution even. Under the Bill of Rights, we see the equal protection clause that is against laws that favor one specific class or type of individuals. Simply put, whether you are rich or poor, the law shall equally apply to everyone. Though we all know this is not what actually happens in real-life.

We have to admit that there are the privileged few who get away with breaking laws but will never admit them. There are go-arounds and loopholes in everything, and there is an art in “dribbling” investigations and procedures to the point that all will be forgotten. And being such an emotional race, us Filipinos will forget and forgive one day.

That is most certain.

Just to be clear, elected officials have my respect. I will do what they ask me to and I will not ask questions because that is the essence of getting things done in government service. The Philippine government is very results-based. However, this does not mean that I will not think or ponder on whether I will vote for you and/or those aligned with you, in the next elections. And that is what this country lacks.

The Philippine government, at times, lacks substance and thought. It’s as if we have forgotten to look at things from a bigger perspective, only obsessed with what is good optics-wise. And while I may rant and keep discussing this, I know that only a speck of the Filipino population will read this or would even think of the same thing. In the end, near election time, it will be the politicians who have the bigger war chest and the more timely charismatic message who will win and lead us for the next three or six years.

Just to address the elephant/s in the room, let me mention Senator Koko Pimentel and Rep. Eric Go Yap. They may have breached protocols and violated laws, particularly, Republic Act 1132 or the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act” and Republic Act 927 or the “Quarantine Act of 2004” but I will leave that to the proper authorities to decide. As a staffer in Congress, I work with them, but not directly. But it is their leadership that sets our direction, just as any management committee, executive committee, or board of directors/trustees in private organizations.

So why am I frustrated? Because we work tirelessly to aid in the legislative process only for some higher officials to possibly violate them. But then again, as a member of the legislative branch, it is not our role to implement the laws — that duty belongs to the executive branch. Neither am I making a conclusion on whether they indeed violated laws because this, in turn, belongs to the judicial branch.

And this brings me back to the dilemma on how ‘gods’ should be disciplined. Should we wait another political cycle for punishment be brought upon them as this is the Filipino way of doing things, or do we impose right now. If it is the people who brought them to that position, then the people should have the power to take that position away, something impossible since the 1987 Constitution forbids it. All we can do, as a collective Filipino people, is to manifest our will in our ballots that must be held as sacred, inviolable, and incorruptible. Don’t you dare utter ‘vote buying’ else this column just wasted your time or did it already actually?

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