Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The “padrino system” is one of the well-established ills of Filipino society that has somehow managed to survive the test of time and propriety. This value system allows many unqualified or ill-intentioned people to gain favor, promotion, or political appointment through family affiliation or friendship, as opposed to one’s merit, competency, or achievements. The padrino system is considered among the biggest reasons for the culture of corruption in government agencies, such as the Bureau of Customs, that was recently in the spotlight after President Aquino singled it out for its corruption and inefficiency during his State of the Nation Address.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill barring politicians from recommending individuals to any position in any government office. The “Anti-Political Recommendations Bill” hopes to put a stop to the unspoken of but apparently still prevalent “padrino” system in government offices where patrons would get their minions to occupy “lucrative” posts, worsening the cycle of corruption as the underlings naturally find ways to express their gratitude.
Sen. Santiago noted that the padrino system is widely practiced in government offices, including the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Bureau of Immigration that she headed during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino. Her bill will impose a fine of P30,000 or a one year jail term on officials who commit “acts of making and soliciting political recommendations from any public official or employee”.
Granted that the good Senator’s bill does get the support of her fellow legislators from both houses, who ironically also happen to be among the allegedly busier and more influential patrons in the land, and becomes law; the next problem would be implementation. We have already seen how difficult it is for government to provide solid proof against seemingly simple corruption cases. How much more difficult would it be to pin down these shrewd padrinos who have been manipulating the system for generations?
The padrino system definitely needs to be given the proper attention and eliminated from our system. Outlawing it is an obvious start, but the final solution will be much more complicated and require a more in-depth effort to overhaul our system of governance than that. Will PNoy’s administration be able to get the ball rolling, and will succeeding administrations be able to keep the momentum going in any quest to rid our government of this blight?*