Transcript of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's Interview
5 February 2007
On actors aspiring to be politicians-o0o-
I am against any candidate who does not have at least a college degree. Number one, it is truly democratic if we allow just anybody without any academic credentials to run. But, a public official occupies a political status higher than that of a mere voter. Therefore his qualification should be higher as well. It should not be the case that anyone who can vote can be voted for. We should divide the power to vote from the power to run for public office. Because experience has shown that unless the person has by inclination or by training, been educated on the legislative process, the laws he produce will not redound to the benefit of the country.
Number two, there is glaring discrepancy between the ordinary rank and file and the elective officials. In the ordinary rank and file, even the lowest position of clerk requires that the candidate has passed the civil service exam. In the case of the members of the PNP, you cannot become a policeman unless you have a college degree. So why is a college degree required to an ordinary cop on the beat, but is not required to a president who will run the country for the next six years, or on the Senate who will help in the running of the country.
So we have to address the question of equal protection. All public officials, whether elected or appointed, should be required to possess more or less the same credentials. If policemen who are appointed are required to be college graduates, then, anyone who is elective should also be required to have college degrees. I have a solution for the problem of those who are already established actors: maybe we could provide that they should undergo a six-month intensive training course in the College of Business Administration in the best schools in the country, like UP, Ateneo, or La Salle. Education should be a definitive constitutional requirement.
I find from personal experience with my friends, the Senators that come from show business, that not withstanding that I am willing to give them the presumption of honesty and efficiency in terms of hard work, there is really a deficiency in the qualification of competence, because that is not a question of willpower or a desire to be competent. It has to be result not only of the aptitude for the subject, but also of intense education on the subject of public administration, law, or politics. Even if they distinguish themselves in other fields if they have not studied law and public policy, they will not be able to make a significant contribution. And the result will be that they will depend very heavily on either their consultant or their staff, but these are non accountable because people don’t even know their faces, and we cannot hold them accountable.
Labels: Election 2007