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Déjà vu

/ 12:53 AM November 17, 2015

Given the simple qualifications needed to become President of the Philippines, there were more individuals who filed their certificates of candidacy for the top post in the land compared to the senatorial seats in the forthcoming national elections. While not something new, there is now a growing concern about those qualifications. Not only do these trivialize the position, they have seemingly prevented us all these times from choosing “the right” president.

To be president under the present Constitution, one needs to be “[a] natural born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, must be at least 40 years of age on the day of election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.” The same qualifications apply for the position of vice president. Except for a lower age qualification and shorter period of residency, the rest of the required qualifications for president and vice president are the same for senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, councilors and barangay captains.

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Looking closely at these qualifications, what seems to be implied is that the stated positions are but simply a matter of leadership ability. On the contrary, required for the position for president most especially, is not just leadership ability, but experience to manage the affairs of government that leads to progress in the lives of the people, in particular, and the country, in general.

Local government executives, particularly town or city mayors with good track records of performance, have been observed to continue to be good executives in higher positions such as the presidency. Their performance is just duplicated and expanded many times over as required. The world is replete with stories of this example.

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Politicians with successful track records in executive tasks are, moreover, found to be more decisive as they also exercise better judgment than those with no executive experience.

Disappointing performance

This brings me, again, to the disappointing performance of President Aquino on the “tanim-bala (bullet-planting)” debacle. He has not been sensitive and decisive as he should, being the highest-ranking executive on whom the buck should stop, so to speak.

After so much prodding, he has improved in being seen at disaster sites to show his concern and desire to provide immediate relief. But on the “tanim-bala,” he is back to his old self. Too bad, he never had the chance to be a local executive to know how to become a good national executive.

It’s good that the Senate investigation on the “tanim-bala” issue is already underway. Though in its early stages, it has already produced some results helpful to the traveling public. The public now knows better: Mere discovery of a bullet or possession of bullets as amulets or lucky charms are not at all considered a “crime” or offense committed against Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act, signed into law by President Aquino on May 29, 2013.

A bullet, to be considered live, must have four components. These four components must all be present for a “bullet” to be considered deadly or potentially harmful. As specified in the law, a bullet to be considered deadly, must first have a metal tip projectile. Second, it is held by a case, called the shell. Third, the shell must be filled with an active propellant, namely the gun powder or cordite. Fourth, the bullet has a primer found inside the base of the shell. It serves to ignite the propellant when hit by a gun’s firing pin. Actually, the shell must have a rim. The function of which is to allow the extractor of the gun a place to grip and remove the shell from the chamber once fired. Absence of which may render the bullet not useful as well.

Also, we now know the Supreme Court had long ruled that mere discovery of even a live bullet of one, two or three should not lead to unnecessary detention and arrest. Three bullets were found in the baggage of a passenger previously. But owing to the absence of the ability of the person to launch even the possibility of a terroristic attack, the person was exonerated.

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The deployment of representatives from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in the airports is good. It has eliminated the incidence of unnecessary apprehensions and arrests. Come to think of it, the previous apprehensions and arrests were either acts of stupidity or deliberate evil deeds by airport personnel out to extort just about anyone.

People don’t seem to be as nervous as they were before. The bags of foreign passengers were no longer as tediously wrapped as before. Like my relative who flew back to the US last week, however, most locals are still wary and apprehensive that their luggage and handbags are still tightly sealed with tapes.

Obviously, the arrangements so far made to stem the “tanim-bala” scam are taking effect. However, they remain band-aid remedies that must be institutionalized if found feasible and effective. The creation of a PAO desk to immediately settle a problem involving the discovery of bullets is one good example. The law also still needs amendments to be true to its design. An operating policy must be likewise installed that will make the airport general manager more effective, unlike General Manager Jose Angel Honrado who claims to be just a “coordinator.”

Bottom line spin

There is more to the “tanim-bala” issue than meets the eye. It is part of the various extortion scams that ail the traveling public. This is also true in the current stock market situation.

Despite the drop in market prices, total transactions have not grown in the face of strong investors’ interest in the market. This is shown by how even small investors are queuing to buy last week’s public equity offering of Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. of the Gaisano family.

One explanation offered is that while gas prices continue to dip some 40 percent lower from its previous highs, the public is unable to cash in on the savings because traffic had turned bad. Actual expenses on the item relatively remained the same.

The market may, therefore, remain soft.

(The writer is a licensed stockbroker of Eagle Equities Inc. You may reach the Market Rider at [email protected], [email protected] or at www.kapitaltek.com)

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Business, column, den somera, president Aquino iii, qualifications
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