Politics as business
Since the election campaign started I have been thinking of who I should vote for, from senators down to councilors. I checked the background of most of the candidates, and found that a number of them are not practicing their real professions and are just keeping their positions in the government.
Of the senatorial candidates, for example, many are already lawmakers or holders of other government posts. A few have been running for reelection for years, and perhaps have forgotten the college degrees they completed. It’s the same in the local governments. Most of the candidates in our municipality are people who keep running every election and have not practiced what they studied in college.
I cannot say this is a political anomaly, the way we view a political dynasty. These people who are political professionals (if there is such a term) must be asked: Why do you want to be in your desired position for consecutive terms? Why don’t you just have one term, and then go back to the profession that you had before you entered the political world? And what is it in the position that moves you to run—the public that you want to serve, or the budget that comes with the post?
A possible reason that encourages them to run is greed for power. It sounds very stereotypical, but it’s most likely. And certainly, many are drawn to the pork barrel, the allowances, the benefits, the bonuses—apart from their salaries, of course. Through these, the money they spent on the campaign, the “donations,” etc. will be reimbursed many, many times over.
Of course, there are certain politicians who seek public office because they want to render genuine service to the public. If all the candidates are like them, we will not regret our choice.
So many people in elective positions have been in the political business since Edsa 1986, or even before it. Now, they or their kin aim to be, or remain, in power. Why do they treat their posts as a business?
True public service is not about what and how much you will lose or gain. A sincere politician must have what Pope Francis and his kind believe in: cura personalis, or care for the whole person. When one enters the world of politics, one must be 101 percent ready to offer one’s best service to the people, because this is what one is expected to do.
In all aspects of Philippine politics, we should not be oblivious to the real essence of why one seeks a high government position. It is not, and should not be, about power or material gain. It is about the progress of the nation as a whole. And politics should not be a business.
Edward John Nerosa, 20, is an incoming senior mass communication student at Ateneo de Davao University.