Wanted: Mature politicians


THE last time we checked, there were minimum age requirements for candidates for public office in the Philippines. Perhaps someone should investigate whether those rules are being comprehensively violated, because the early contenders for next year’s elections all seem to be about nine years old.

To be clear, we are neither endorsing nor rejecting any candidate at any level at this point, and the reason why is that the rhetoric and behavior of nearly every one of them at this early stage of the election campaign is far below the level of maturity one would expect to see in aspiring political leaders, or for that matter, normal mentally-healthy adults.

At the national level, we have already been treated to the spectacle of a public inquisition of the Vice President and his family (at considerable public expense) in the Senate; one presumptive candidate treating the serious business of standing for election as a schoolyard threat; another whose mother made an appeal to voters on his behalf; and yet another who has yet to offer anything more than, “I support the President” as a qualification to be his replacement.

This sad state of affairs is certainly not limited to the national level. The province of Masbate is a typical example, as an exasperated community organizer explained to The Manila Times. A three-way clash of clans among the families of two former governors and the current one has descended into an embarrassing drama of childish name-calling and shallow one-upmanship. “No one has any plans, or thinks of anything long-term,” he complained.

Substitute any other province, city, municipality, or barangay for Masbate, and the story is likely to be similar. A tremendous amount of energy and resources are being expended by competing political factions at the level of the lowest common denominators of personality and transactionalism, offering nothing helpful, progressive, or even at all imaginative to the voters.

This cannot be allowed to be the prevailing standard of conduct of the election campaign. The election of May 2016 is perhaps the most important election the Philippines has faced since its earliest days as an independent nation. The next President, members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and local councilors will face unprecedented challenges to the country’s integrity and well-being. Rapidly growing tensions in the West Philippine Sea threaten to put the Philippines in the middle of a conflict – possibly a future military conflict, and in the near-term certainly a diplomatic and economic conflict – between Chinese and American superpowers. Internal peace is at grave risk from the reaction to the outcome of deliberations over the Bangsamoro Basic Law bill; greater unrest in Mindanao and possibly elsewhere seems inevitable whether the BBL is passed or not.

On the economic front, the integration of the Asean Economic Community beginning later this year will put increasing pressure on the country throughout the next administration’s term, and will require constant improvements in institutions, governance, and competitiveness if the Philippines is to claim its rightful place as a regional leader. Other critical concerns such as expanding and improving the country’s infrastructure, efficient management of government revenues and budget planning, and effectively fighting the chronic ills of unemployment and poverty will all need to be substantially addressed as well.

When the candidates seeking our votes care to acknowledge these various issues and explain how they would tackle them, we will give them our full attention. Until then, no one should validate their campaign-related “business as usual” with too much commentary or analysis.


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  1. Where are the leaders of the caliber of Lorenzo Tanada, Jose P Laurel, Claro Redto,Arsenio Lacson???? the mediocares have paraded in our political house.When will we stop
    listening to Bongbong and Imelda. In other democratid countries, they wouild hae lost
    their heads,

  2. rey quijada on

    One basic ingredient of maturity is discipline which starts from childhood to adulthood. Looking at our SK and how their election is conducted thanks and no thanks aided by their adult political counterparts and under the supervision of our COMELEC, is their any hope for us to elect candidates among mature aspirants?

  3. me thinks that the MEDIA should first and foremost start educating the voting populace MOST ESPECIALLY those belonging to the class c,d,and e. media should start educating them and impart in them the importance of selecting or voting for persons who fit the job description and not voting on name recall, surnames, showbiz connection etc. the people in the provinces are the most in need of this media attention. that is the only way we change the voters’ mindset in electing the officials of this country. yung mga debateng inululunsad ng media during elections are important pero hindi ito nakakarating sa maraming botantes sa mga lalawigan na malayo sa metro manila at mga syudad sa mga probinsya

  4. Yes it does seem like we have too many immatue politicians whose focus is how to get things for themselves. We need people who can institute an atmosphere of “Law and Order” in our country. That is exactly the opposite of what we have now, where politicians bend and break every rule and law to do what they want. Bribery and corruption can be eliminared.

  5. Guillermo Hernandez on

    It is very obvious that the Filipinos do not have the maturity to handle DEMOCRACY. A great majority of the populace are as ignorant and uneducated as the ” Indios ” of the Spanish era.

  6. A Teodoro for Prexy and Gordon for Vice Prexy will be an ideal team-up considering everything we require of the persons to lead us.

  7. P.Akialamiro on

    It is really sad that there are no ‘exciting’ candidates so far for the major positions, particurly, those for president and vice-president. Simply, we are now experiencing the duri effects of the political culture the Filipino voters being corrupted and corrupt politicians, as has evolved to this present situation the country is now in.

    Everyone, especcially the media should be proactive in the campaign for eradicating unqualified politicans because of being corrupt and lack of track record in public service, despite popularity.

    • sonny dela cruz on

      I have been saying MR. DICK J. GORDON for president and I hope MR. GIBO TEODORO to accept for vice president. If the MEDIA wants a better Philippines then they should be calling the two to come out and say something if they are interested to do their PATRIOTIC DUTY for the country and the Filipino people.

  8. Sinong media ang mag-iindorso,at mag-iimbestiga upang makahanap ng mabuting mamumuno na hindi magpapabayad?Kung magkakaisa ang lahat ng media at paulit-ulit itong ipaaalam sa taong bayan kung sino-sino ang karapat-dapat na iboto,malaking maitutulong Ito!
    Kaya lang,pera-pera laging ang una! Mas-marami ang magaling sa salita,pero wala,puro salita-!