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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The "Padrino" System - A Menace To Philippine Society (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of www.thebloggingjuan.blogspot.com

The Filipinos are proud people with many positive and negative values as well. Some of their positive values include being religious, hospitable, respectful, family oriented, friendly, with high sense of fraternity or “pakikisama”, among others.
The prominent negative Filipino values include being fatalistic, crab mentality (Ma-inggitin), “maῆana” habit (wait for tomorrow), “niῆgas-kugon” (Procrastination), bashful (Mahiyain) and high reliance on the “Padrino  (Godfather)  system”, and many more.
Among the aforementioned negative values, this text will focus on the “Padrino” system which is prevalent in the country.  While there are many factors that hinder the progress of any country or community for that matter, the “Padrino” system in the Philippines, proved to be a major deterrent in the country’s sustainable development.
The dominant practice of the “Padrino” system is highly associated with the incessant corruption in the country, it being one Filipino value that permits and reinforces the prevalence and continuance of corrupt practices in the country.
How corruption affected the economic development of the Philippines is shown in our low ranking in the “2009 Index of Economic Freedom” where the country ranked 104 among the 170 countries, mainly because of the long lasting and unresolved problem of corruption. Likewise, according to the “Transparency International’s Corruption Index (CPI) Report in 2008, the Philippines placed 141st among the 180 countries. A simple interpretation means that in a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as “highly clean” and 1 as “highly corrupt”, the Philippines ranged from 2.1 to 2.5.  
Photo courtesy of blog.heritage.com
Being a part of the Filipino culture, the “Padrino” system has been in play since time immemorial. It has been a pervasive system observed in both private and public organizations although it is more ascendant in the government sector. It is prevailing from high national government positions to the lowest job in the barangays. The tentacles of this inept system are far reaching, its venom paralyzing the efficiencies and effectiveness of every existing government office in the country.
 The “Padrino” system lords over every transaction in all government sectors. On the national level, the “Padrino” system predominates from the selection and appointments of cabinet members and lower undersecretaries and commissioners, high ranking military officers, high courts Justices as well as the passing and approval of Acts and Laws by Congress and the President, considering the influence of powerful lobbyists and “friendly” negotiators and lobbyists.
The toxic of the “Padrino” system seeps down to the national government’s Regional and District Offices finally permeating the Local Government Units in Provinces, Cities and Municipalities in the whole country.
The “Padrino” system embodies the fundamental principle of favoritism and its buy products, nepotism and cronyism are principally practiced  in public service.
As the term connotes, favoritism in an organization is an act of favoring a particular person or group in various areas:  employment, promotions, assignments, training and development, provision of privileges and perks and many others. Favoritism clearly defies and violates the basic principle of Human Resource Management, thereby distorting the essential process of recruitment and selection up to retirement.
Favoritism in the workplace is most evident when a person or persons with inferior qualifications are selected and appointed for employment and incompetent and inefficient workers are rewarded with promotions and salary increases without regard to work performances, role of succession (next in rank). and seniority (length of service).
Several Encyclopedias recorded that the term nepotism is derived from the Latin word nepos, nepotis, meaning (nephew)  that ascended to the modern Romanian nepot and Italian nepote and Catalan nebot, all referring to “nephew or “grandchild”. 
Courtesy of en.wikipedia.com
Even during the Middle Ages, nepotism was already practiced when Catholic Popes andBishops gave positions of preference to their nephews as were often accorded by fathers to sons. This is so because they have taken their vows of chastity and usually have no children of their own. During that period, several popes elevated their nephews and other relatives to the “cardinalate”. For example, Pope Calixtus III, Head of the Borgia family, made 2 of his nephews Cardinals and the practice went on for many years. Nepotism in the Catholic church ended only when Pope Innocent XII issued the bull “Romanum decet Pontificem” in 1692 prohibiting popes in all times from bestowing estates, offices, or revenues to any relative, with the exception that one qualified relative (at most)  could be a cardinal.
Nepotism is a constricted form of favoritism since it entails favoritism to members of the family regardless of merit.
In the Philippines, nepotism is best exemplified by the supremacy of “political dynasties”. Political history will show that we have past and present Senators who can be considered proofs of the ascendancy of political dynasties. Former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a daughter of the late Pres. Diosdado Macapagal while current Pres. Noynoy Aquino is a son of the late Pres. Corazon Aquino and the late Senator Ninoy Aquino. Senators Allan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano are siblings, sons and daughter of the late Senator Rene Cayetano. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is the son of former Pres. Joseph Estrada and former Senator Loi Estrada. Sen. Bongbong Marcos , Sen. Bong Revilla and Sen. Koko Pimentel are the sons of the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, former Sen. Ramon Revilla and former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, respectively. And the long list goes on and on ….
 In the local government levels, it is common practice for Representatives, Provincial Governors, City and Municipal Mayors to ‘swap” and employ “succession” of political positions with immediate members of the family and other relatives especially those who have completed their maximum 3-terms in office.
The present Makati Mayor Junjun Binay and  Makati Congresswoman Mar-Len Abigail Binay are the son and daughter of former Makati Mayors Jejomar and Elaine Binay. Another daughter Nancy is a hopeful senatorial candidate for this coming May mid-term election.  
In Davao City, the Duterte family has seized political power for more than 2 decades now. As City Mayor since 1988, Rodrigo Duterte is now the Vice Mayor of his daughter, Mayor Sarah Duterte who was his Vice Mayor in 2007 to 2010. In the coming May mid-term elections, Vice Mayor Duterte has filed his candidacy to regain the Mayoralty position with his son Paolo, as his Vice Mayoralty candidate.
Among the many, political dynasties in the Philippines are typified  by the Dy’s of Isabela, Singsons and Marcoses of the Ilocos region,  Garins  and Defensors of Iloilo, Maraῆons and Alvarezes of Negros Occidental,  Zubiris of Bukidnon,  Alontos of Lanao del Sur and Buluts of Apayao, to name a few. Most, if not all, belong to the rich, powerful and influential families and clans in their respective areas.   
Cronyism is another specific form of favoritism when there is partiality towards close friends and associates regardless of their qualifications for the position.  In the Philippines, cronyism is extended by politicians in office to relatives and friends, families of wives/husbands and close friends including that of mistresses and paramours, as well.
Cronyism was at the apex of dominance during the Martial Law regime of then Pres. Marcos when the largest and most productive business organizations that included major newspaper companies, broadcast networks, largest electric power company and heavy industries, among the few, were gradually placed under the control of his closest cronies that resulted to what was termed as “crony capitalism.”
Monopolies were established in manufacturing, construction and financial sectors including the agricultural sector specifically the sugar and coconut industries that employ more than 35 million Filipino workers that absorbed the most damaging impact of crony capitalism. In monopolies, farmers were obliged to sell their crops only to the monopolies of Marcos cronies and received less than the selling price in the world market.  It was reported that millions of US dollars from these monopolies went to the pockets of the cronies of Marcos in Swiss bank accounts, real estate “sweet” deals and the luxurious purchases of art, jewelry and antiques. Even the national flag carrier, the Philippine air Lines was practically used as a “virtual private commuter line”, according to one newspaper, for Imelda Marcos and her friends on shopping sprees to the US and Europe.   
The organization of the “Omega 5” and “Rolex 12”, special groups composed of relatives, associate and close friends of the late Pres. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos displayed the highest form of cronyism, and will forever be etched in our political history. In the same sort, the “midnight cabinet” of former Pres. Joseph Estrada, composed of close aides, friends and “drinking buddies” is cronyism in the highest order. 
 Note: ( More to follow in Part 2 )
May 7, 2013
Fresno, California, USA

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