A Reflection Paper on Rulemakers by Sheila Coronel

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Evangelista, Mariel S.
When you ask a Filipino to describe the people that were elected or to describe who are currently running the office or at least ask a Filipino a fearless forecast on how the next government officials will be like, he can say something as short and straightforward as this: It is not a representative of the typical Filipino. So what I mean by a typical Filipino, is a person who is not member of a political family or at least a connection, a person that graduated college with no credentials at all, a person that goes to work every day by commuting, using PUVs and PUJs earning minimum wage. And if one day that “typical Filipino” wakes up, realizing that he wants to run for the presidential elections do you think that he can stand a chance of winning when all of his competitors constitutes the elites? If I were him, I would not. They have a degree in law, his net worth is in the P10 million range, He has a Porsche, His wife is the hottest actress in the country today and he came from a political family, that everyone talks about. Although during elections, this attributes would be understated but still this makes sense. These attributes would actually help them win legislative positions. 1946 allowed us to create a democratic republic, The Republic of the Philippines. A few decade of American rule was supposed to prepare us for democracy. Democracy in the Philippines is something that benefits only a few families. When the Americans claim that they have prepared the Philippines for Democracy, they were actually preparing the elites. Our first encounter with the elections, the poor was excluded. Only those with wealth and property were allowed to vote. Our first batch of political leaders is the wealthy family. Things are supposed to have drastic and evident change in our country after EDSA 1 but then nothing much has changed. That’s why EDSA is not exactly a revolution. It was a mere change of president. The political and economic power lies to those people who controlled our legislature, people who controlled the politics within the country and their families. Democracy for me is held by relatively small number of families whose wealth and power are derived from the ownership of land. Our first batch of political leaders and big business leaders are actually big landlords. Some famous “landlords” are the Cojuancos with Hacienda Luicita. We have the Lopez in Negros Occidental and the Florendos and Ayalas in Mindanao. Being rich is not necessarily mean that you are an elite. You have to posses’ economic power that would make you shape the lives of other people. Age is also a very crucial point in the Congress. From 1946 to 2001, only 13% of the congress has an age range of 25-35. The rest of the 87% is old already. Those elected 20 years ago are now aging. You can see how young our legislators are in this part of the rulemakers and I tried to google how they look now and I of course, they now look older. Legislators tend to age in office because the turnover rate is slow, even if term limits helped speed it up. However, the same old trend happens: when the legislators completed three terms, they relinquish their posts to their sons and daughters. Probably I can walk from Andrew to the South Gate and I can come across someone that has already a place in the congress as early as now. As professor Manhit once said to the class, he might be the student who stays at the back of the class, recites once in a blue moon, graduates on time and poof! There he is in the congress in no time. How about those running for the freshmen elections, the University Student Government, do they have a future of getting into the office? I think not. 90% of those in the office right now were never a student leader when they are young. It came on my mind that our leaders in the university could be the possible future leaders of this country. Of that 90% our president is included. He was not the topnotcher in his Alma...
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