One of the worst misconceptions is how easy it is to be a Philippine politician. I have some relatives like Edu Manzano and Ms. Margarita Cojuangco that entered politics. It fascinated me. as to how to be one.
Serving by running for public office is often the reason behind an election campaign. Most Filipinos can serve the people without having to run and be a Philippine politician. But when new laws had to be made and others needed correcting, most of these tasks fall on the hands of the lawmakers. And the only way to be one of the lawmakers is to be a Philippine politician.
The same lawmakers that drafted our current set of laws are the same individuals that these political aspirants look up to. They refer to them for notes and information to be a Philippine politician because it has been used time and again to identify the steps needed. Some candidates only get to brush up on some of the laws when they get disqualification charges. So the best reference to look up to would be the law itself.
One of the laws serving as reference for political aspirants and veterans alike to be a Philippine politician is the Election Code of the Philippines. Article IX is where you find the criteria used for identifying qualified candidates. Article IX Section 63 particularly enumerates qualifications for running for President and Vice President of the Philippines.
Notice how educational attainment needed to be a Philippine politician is simply stated as “able to read and write”. This gave several non-degree holders to run for public office for positions as high as President and Vice President of the Philippines. The law was specific when it comes for age requirements and years of residency. The age requirement is easily interpreted as proof that you have earned enough experience in public service to give the presidency a shot. The number of years can be interpreted as having enough time spent in the locality to prove familiarity with the territory you intend to rule on. If the rule of law would be used, it is basically open season for everyone interested regardless of whether you finished school or not. Everyone that sees themselves ruling over the country can run.
Qualifications to run for members of Congress (referred to as Batasang Pambansa) is almost the same except for the age requirement. This is where I realized that while qualifications for the district and sectoral representatives are found in Article IX of the Election Code of the Philippines. I found the qualifications to become Senators of the Philippines in the 1987 Constitution. Article VI Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution enumerates them as follows.
Again, no mention of any degrees earned to be a Philippine politician by virtue of serving in the Senate. This is in recognition of members of this so-called “august body” that contributed positively to the law-making process without even having to finish college. It is often the exception rather than the rule. But most of the decorated and accomplished Senators have bills enacted into laws. Their decisions are highly influenced by their experience as legal practitioners. Nevertheless, being a member of the Senate means participating in creating laws that help the nation.
From where does the Senate gets the laws they decide upon? They get it from the House of Representatives. To be a Philippine politician on a local level as one of the lawmakers, qualifications are stated on Article IX Section 64 paragraph 1 of the Election Code of the Philippines. Compared to the Senate, age requirement stated here is younger as stated below.
Now when it comes to representation in the House of Representatives, it includes sectoral representatives. They are better known as Party-List Representatives. To be a Philippine politician under the Party List banner, aspirants should read Article IX Section 64 paragraph 2 of the Election Code of the Philippines.
|To be President or Vice President||To be a Member of the Senate||To be a Member of the House of Representatives (Districts)||To be a Member of the House of Representatives (Sectoral)|
|A natural-born citizen of the Philippines||A natural-born citizen of the Philippines||A natural-born citizen of the Philippines||A natural-born citizen of the Philippines|
|A registered voter||A registered voter||A registered voter in the constituency in which he shall be elected||In case of a representative of the agricultural or industrial labor sector, a registered voter|
|Able to read and write||Able to read and write||Able to read and write||Able to read and write|
|At least forty (40) years of age on election day||At least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election||At least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election||At least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election|
|A resident of the Philippines for at least ten (10) years immediately preceding the day of the election||A resident of the Philippines for not less than two (2) years immediately preceding the day of the election||A resident thereof for a period of not less than six (6) months immediately preceding the day of the election||A resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election|
Here’s to hoping that this article was of help to everyone aspiring to be a Philippine politician. Or public servant, in case the word politician still leaves a bad taste to the mouth. Bottom line is that you want to make a difference in the Philippines by having the power to correct some laws. Either some of them are obsolete or they need to be updated. I don’t see this as the last time writing about it. So I highly recommend that you like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. You immediately get updated in case new articles become available. Gracias!