The only constitutional provision that I could recite from memory is: “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty Resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” Section 1, Article II, Constitution of the Philippines. Not just because it is almost poetic but because my professor in political science always emphasised this and it was then of course part of our subject political law in the college of law. This defines our system of government. In a democratic state just like ours, the real sovereign is the people. This is the reason why we have elections wherein those who wish or desire to be elected present themselves to the people during the campaign period in the hope that they get the most number of votes. This is also the reason why the government has a separate agency or even a commission to make sure that the will of the people through the ballot is properly registered or counted. Each election the government as well as the candidates spend billions of pesos in order to fulfil the desire of the people as to who they wish to govern FOR them. An elected official does not govern the people but govern for the people. Government officials are not monarchs or dictators, they are chosen by the people to run the government. And so for me, there are two main functions of the elected government officials: to exercise actual administrative functions and the other, and most important one is the symbolic function. The fact that an elected official occupies a public office tells us that indeed the actual ruler is the people. That is why elected officials from the “lowest” to the “highest” are called or addressed as “honourable” not because the person is being elevated to a privileged position but the manifestation or embodiment of the will or power of the people.
There are some officials who in their attempt to project humility, refuse to be addressed as “honourable”. To me, this goes against the very principle of our government. The public office being occupied by the official is not owned by him so he can tailor it according to his personal touch or whims. He occupies the office because of the mandate of the people. He is therefore honored by such mandate and he must understand and embrace this principle in order for him to perform his functions to the best of his abilities. Maybe if public officials understand and imbibe this principle then hopefully they can perform their functions and duties with the knowledge that the position they occupy is almost if not entirely sacred. Sacred I say because before assuming office, an elected official makes an oath before the people imploring the help of the Almighty that he may be able to perform his duty. Almost similar to the ordination of a priest who takes a vow of obedience and celibacy among others. The oath makes it sacred because it is made to God or the Almighty and also before the people.
As mandated by the Fair Elections Act and prevailing COMELEC resolutions, I will no longer be able write for this column during the entire duration of the campaign period until the day of the elections. I have filed my candidacy and I am seeking the mandate of my beloved people of Bokod for the position of vice-mayor. May our elections be fair, clean, and peaceful!