Thursday, July 2, 2015

When politicians stay too long in power


In many ways, the state of politics and governance in the city of Makati exemplifies everything that is dysfunctional in the nation’s political system. Law is put in a position of having to constantly assert and defend its autonomy against political power. The official is so tightly folded into the personal that it becomes impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. Every attempt to audit official performance is regarded as a personal attack, or an assault on the whole family.

But our people appear to tolerate it, or even welcome it, unable perhaps to imagine any other way of governing a society. That is how entire clans are able to monopolize political power in many provinces of the country across generations. These families manage to weave an elaborate tapestry of patronage that covers all the essential spheres of everyday existence. Access to this system is solely decided by one’s place in an intricate web of personal connections. Here, public services become the privileges of the connected, not the entitlements of citizens.

The modern hope is that as a society becomes urbanized and relatively more prosperous, people are released from the diffused roles they play in traditional patronage systems. When this happens, the personal is demarcated from the institutional, and the various function systems of society become sharply differentiated from one another.

Instead of becoming a reality, this vision has remained a pie in the sky for most of our people. Instead of advancing to a higher level of institutional complexity, Philippine society appears to be drowning in a series of "de-differentiations." Yje majesty of the law is undermined when politicians insist on deciding what is lawful and what is not.

The sanctity of public office itself is eroded when politicians stay too long in power, and pass on their offices to members of their families as though they were part of the heirloom. - (Glimpses of a Binay presidency, Inquirer.net)


Susong Dalaga Hill

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Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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