Position Paper: Suspension of Barangay Elections

Where are we now? As promised, I would go back to writing. This paper was, originally, our assignment in Legal Forms. I waited for summer vacation before I publish this to avoid plagiarism. Here it is:

I highly oppose the suspension of barangay elections for this year.

“Suffrage as conferred by the constitutional provision is not a natural right of the citizens, but a political right intended to enable them to participate in the process of government to assure it derives its powers from the consent of the governed (Pungutan vs. Abubakar, L-33541, 20 June 1972).”

To suspend the election is to deprive the Filipino citizens of their political right to choose who will govern them. Last year’s suspension was justified due to amendments on the qualifications of body politics of Sangguniang Kabataan, which can pave way to a more efficient election. Apart from this, the fear of having to elect leaders despite the drug parlance in the country was considered, for drug money might be used by candidates for their campaign. But does Philippines need another suspension to delay these envisioned prejudices? Are we, again, depriving the nation to choose its new leaders and the citizens, themselves, their privilege to run for public office? A single suspension was enough. We need not to enslave our minds from fears of the unknown.

First off, the ongoing issues in illegal drugs are being tried, unlawfully. Extrajudicial and vigilante killings have become an “acceptable, “speedy” way to eliminate who they thought were scraps of society [when in fact life is in the highest in the hierarchy in Sec. 1, Art. III of the Constitution] Life was less valuable than that of an animal in a slaughterhouse. I submit that this remedy of the present administration increased even the number of crimes that the nation needs to address – Murder and Homicide. After all, they are also heinous crimes, aren’t they? Do they differ from the felonies in the Revised Penal Code just because a public servant does it in one way or another? Absolutely, not. Hence, using illegal drug parlance as another justification to suspend the barangay elections is inutile, a mere repetition on the delay of the administration of justice.

Secondly, to suspend the barangay elections is to extend the service of the incumbent officials. Some, if not all, have been using their bestowed duty and power to propagate their evil motives. It cannot be said that the present elected officials are not amiss in their duties to the people. Not only drugs, but graft and corruption continuously affect the growth of the nation. These leaders can aid the facilitation on the flow of drugs in prisons and camps, using bribes to favour or persecute. Thus, if the government really wanted to cleanse itself from all impurities, it has to start looking to what’s in-front of it before stepping into what’s next. More aptly put, the government needs to sterilize itself from abusive leaders in position, first, by conducting an election [to give electorates the option to lawfully remove them in position or to retain those who need to be retained in position] before stopping the inflow of coming leaders. This way, we are following the dictates of justice and equity guided by the Constitution.

Lastly, suspending the barangay election would deprive the grassroots levels of decentralization. Leaders are bred in the smaller governmental institutions. It is in the barangay level where the seemingly miniscule proposals sprout and drizzle the far-reaching ideals of the larger institutions like the National Government. Ergo, to stop the aspiring citizens to serve his people is also putting an end to the free exchange and advancement of leadership.

The 2017 barangay elections must forego. Let our voices be heard. Speak and act, Filipino. I now rest my case.

💌,

SAM

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On Fire

Yes, even the Church is at war.

It was my first time to witness an electricity brownout while the Mass was ongoing which started right in the middle of the readings. Of course, everyone was anxious. As for me, my heart skipped a beat and silently prayed for the current to come back for the Gospel. There it goes. Lectors had to doubly increase their voice…I could also see our parish priest wiping his forehead. He seemed to be in deep thought, but, still, confident that what was gone would come back. My mother closed her eyes while praying. And I, I was doing the same thing.
When the moment came for Gospel reading, a servant brought a battery-operated speaker. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Whoa. To much of our surprise, the electricity came back in full force when our priest would be reading the Gospel. So I whispered to Mom, “It’s so amazing! Bumalik n’ong Gospel reading.” My mind says, “The Lord is so powerful. He can work miracles. If this was the devil’s work, God can show to His people that He never loses His battles.” 

During the Homily, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Socrates Villegas’ Message was, instead, read to us. It’s about the Church’s standing to the restoration of Death Penalty.

“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” is no longer at hand, it says. When Jesus came to this world, He had overpowered this brutal punishment of early church leaders. Not because He violated Moses’ law, but He has given life to God’s immense love. For even Moses is subject to Jesus. Jesus took all our iniquities, He was nailed on the cross, and He gave us eternal life. As Christians, we are among those people who value the sanctity of life. We don’t need capital punishment to avenge ourselves from our brothers and sisters who had wronged us, no matter how grave it was. For they, too, are our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is better to have them change, instead of killing them and forcefully erasing their existence into this world, like an oblivion.

The restoration of the Death Penalty in the Philippines is contrary to the avowed duty of the State to comply with a treaty obligation. Philippines is one of the signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which prohibits the imposition of capital punishment because it recognizes life as a basic human right. Hence, in Section 19, Art III of the Constitution, it stresses that the Constitution, already completely, abolished death penalty from the statute books.

Last Ash Wednesday, the lower house has approved the bill restoring death penalty on the third reading. The lawmakers’ voice was softened by fear of the unknown, particularly the iron-clad hand of a not-so-mighty-ruler.

One senator who “claims to be a Christian” was skillfully-sidestepping the Bible by saying that since capital punishment was in the Bible, it’s rightful to impose it. Wow! It’s as if New Testament never existed at all. He has based his argument on a wrong premise. Just because a thing existed in the Bible, are we justified to bring it back? All crimes also existed in the Bible but the point is, these were written to warn the next generation. He should have read the Bible by NOT cutting down verses, but read it as a whole. Seriously, man, I regret voting for you. WALA KANG SARILING DESISYON. You had disappointed your fellow Christians for going with the flow. You are not a Christian at all because you submit not to Jesus, but to a human authority. Tsk, tsk…

The letter concluded with (if I can remember it right) a statement of continuing Church’s battle with death penalty. Until I got home, I couldn’t wait to encourage and awaken other Christian-Catholics to be aware and fight for life. I hope this post would somehow help.

It is not, yet, too late to stand up for life. The bill will, still, be reviewed and amended by the upper house, the Senate. And so long as Jesus’ life lives in us, we will continue praying and urging our lawmakers to be in line with God.
Thank you for reading!

💌,
SAM