Renato Tibon .
FIRST and foremost, a congressman should have the experience and competence of a lawmaker. Not so in the context of Philippine experience where there are no distinctive qualifications set for those vying for executive and legislative positions. Everyone thought that so long as they have the politician’s mettle, they can do on-the-job training whichever position they happen to run and win. In the pretext of public service, those who are ill-prepared but have the gall to run as district representatives thought that in Congress, they don’t have to do more than just the raising of hands when “ayes” and “nays” are called to divide the house. And anyway, or so they rationalize, they will have the legal and technical staff who will assist them in the crafting or supporting authorship of bills. No wonder why we have nincompoops in Congress who compose the silent majority. They just line up for automatic appropriations and/or “share” in executive appropriations for votes cast on a hastily crafted measure such as when they rushed the impeachment of a former CJ of the Supreme Court.
This is the tragedy that befalls our legislature. With a modicum of requirements, anyone can practically run for a congressional seat with the following qualifications (found under Sec. 3, Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution):
“No person shall be a Member of the HOR unless
- He is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines
- On the day of the election, is at least 24 years of age
- Able to read and write
- A registered voter in the District in which he shall be elected and
- A resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of election”
There is no mention of academic qualification, political education and training or certificate of moral and intellectual competency in lieu of experience and track record as a newbie legislator.
Thus, in Cagayan de Oro City, a great disparity in terms of improvements in basic services and infrastructures can be seen between the two legislative districts, which succession of representatives has failed to deliver on the people’s expectations.
Will Kagayanons settle for less than the sterling record and accomplishments of former congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez, who, aside from his excellent academic performance, political background starting as a young member of the provincial board of Misamis Oriental for four years, and proficiency and experience in different legal fora both as educator and author of law books, has crafted and passed numerous bills and laws as a three-term congressman with initiatives in health, education, employment, housing, scholarships and infrastructures around District 2 which greatly contributed to the distinction of Cagayan de Oro City being one of the most progressive and livable cities in the country?
In the words of respected journalist Herbie Gomez: “I doubt if there is anyone in Cagayan de Oro who can state without lying to himself that Rodriguez doesn’t meet the qualifications for the position of CDO representative, a position he already held for nine long years. Of course, Rodriguez is qualified.”
(Renato Gica Tibon is a fellow of the Fellowship of the 300, an elite organization under Centrist Democracy Political Institute [CDPI] with focus on political technocracy. He holds both position as political action officer and program manager of the Institute. He is the former regional chairman for Region 10 and vice president for Mindanao of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines [CDP].)