A clean slate for dirty men

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by Kimberly Mae Argosino and Carmelo Eduardo Mesa

The NBI Clearance – a fancy, government-issued way of saying, “I’m not a criminal”. But in the Philippine political landscape, the value of this thin sheet of paper is minimal, microscopic, and almost ultimately – diminished.

The electorates of our nation are often overwhelmed by a plethora of candidates, whose faces and surnames we’ve met a thousand elections before.

And while this is indicative of a political dynamic centered on recycling power, this proved no economic significance to our growth as a nation. With the weak election and candidacy laws, even the most heavily criminally charged politicians could still assume power.

If we would analyze the criteria for political candidates in depth, you would realize that the standards are way too low for such lofty positions. We should already know by now that being literate; knowing how to read; knowing how to write, and being of the right age is not enough.

When applying for a job, you need not only be qualified academically but must also possess soft and technical skills to ensure that you are able to perform what is needed. And when an aspiring employee could not present his or her NBI clearance, he or she basically send his or her resume down the trash bin.

Why do we hold much higher standards for the people we employ? In the corporate world, to hire people with criminal charges is called insanity. Yet, when the same kind of people applies to become our legislators or city heads, they are welcomed with open arms.

Politicians like these are like clowns in a circus-like political system. They divert the attention of the nation by making meretricious promises of uplifting their lives, providing opportunities, and creating laws that will serve the interest of the many.

But once these politicians get elected into the position, everything turns upside down. Suddenly, the men we invest our hopes for a better country for, turn out to be the villains; the enemies; wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Holes in the system allow these men and women to stay in power. It is almost as if the constitution exists to extend their self-serving interests in the most inconspicuous methods.

Take for example, how the police force gives consideration to the age and health condition of a prominent female politician after the former has been convicted with multiple counts of graft. But when an ordinary citizen performs even the pettiest crimes, they are treated brutally, mercilessly, and for a while, the motto ‘to serve and to protect’ ceases to exist.

The main issue here is not about the NBI Clearance or the lack thereof of political candidates but rather a mixture of political ignorance and disinformation among the majority of the voters.

Filipinos acquired tolerance of corruption and tend to just let it happen because they just got used to it. We do a great disservice to our country by allowing inept, corrupt, and criminal politicians inside the system. The Filipinos do not deserve leaders whose main agenda is to heavy their pockets with the nation’s hard-earned taxes.

More importantly, we must realize that the only way we could protect our government from criminally charged politicians is to educate ourselves. We must emphasize on our individual critical thinking before we could chorus on collaborative change. In a country dominated with a politician with dark souls, we only have our fellowmen to trust, to believe in, to join in a revolutionary movement with.

To reiterate, the Filipinos do not deserve leaders whose main agenda is to feed their famished pockets with the hard-earned taxes of the nation. We have fought and continue to do so, against this carousel ride of progress: only going up and down in a continuous eternal circle.

The only way to liberate ourselves from the barbaric hands of criminal politicians is to put them in prison. And we invest our hope that one day, each will rot in their own time and pace, and decay together with all their wrongdoings.

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