What happens now?

Padrino system or also known as Palakasan and Patronage System is one of the Filipino negative practices that are highly associated to corruption. Mainly because corrupt people having allies of their choosing provokes them into doing illegal activities in confidence.

Today, it is still very much evident in the Philippines. The system has been in our country for the longest time and is still getting stronger and stronger by the moment. As of late, corruption issues involving the highest officials of our country (the president and the senators) are being associated with the Padrino System. This only shows that no matter how long the system’s been out in the open, there is still minimal to none progress in the quelling of the Padrinos in our country.

One of the most outspoken crusaders against corruption and the Padrino/Palakasan/Patronage system is Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. She even passed a bill against political recommendations in an effort to slowly eradicate the Padrino System. According to her, the padrino system is just as bad as the “epal” politicians. Quoting, “These epal politicians already have their names on every public infrastructure from their pork barrel funds, and now they want their names attached in people’s résumés? The nerve of these people!” 

Senator Miriam also highlighted the incompetence that the system allows and how meritocracy was lost along with it by saying, “Worse, the padrino system tends to bypass more qualified individuals to government positions in favor of ones with better political connections. Corrupt na nga, unqualified pa. We should bring back meritocracy to the bureaucracy,”

At the rate it is going, it’s not too impossible that it will last for a little longer. For one, the bill that has been passed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago against Political Recommendations has been making no progress since the time it was drafted and passed in the year 2008. If the system continues to prevail in this country, there is no doubt that as time will pass, the poor will get poorer and the rich will get richer. And if it succeeds, there will soon be no bars to hold other people from using their connections and power from attaining their interests. Interests that do more damage than good to the other people involved. (You can find the bill below.)

So why hasn’t it been passed into a law after all these years? Well, in an interview about the probe of the padrino system in the BoC, Commissioner Ruffy Biazon himself admitted that,

“The “padrino system” is difficult to break up because it is deeply entrenched inside and outside the system. His deputy, Commissioner for Intelligence Danilo Lim also admitted in a report that “powerful forces are interfering in the operations of BoC”. These “powerful forces”, also confirmed by its Commissioner for Administration, include senators, congressmen and relatives of some high officials.”

…this brings us back to our question, “Why are the people of power the most abundant participants of corruption? Is it because their positions gave them power to do these or do they do these to stay in power?”

This could be the answer to both questions above; in class, Sir Pedro, our Politics and Governance professor, also made a point that, “Why would these people in power stop whatever got them to their positions?” I think he made a really good point. Because when you study it from that perspective you’ll see that these powerful people got there because they had connections and throughout their stay in the position, they nourished and even built more connections. So why would they support the law that would sever these? And the law that most probably would make them lose whatever they got out of these connections? Would they really prefer starting from scratch rather than what they have right now? Hence, the only way to stay at the top is to continue to be corrupt

Sir Pedro also mentioned in class that there is no such thing as “public interest” because it is an illusion people create to make others believe they are “doing it for them”. That being said, I believe that if these corrupt padrinos are asked to do things for the Filipinos and what could be disguised as “public interest” (make anti-padrino law/stop corruption/share their riches to the poor) they would still choose what would give satisfaction to their own interests which unfortunately is the opposite of these.

~ Mary Emmanuelle V. Payumo


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