Wangwangs, High Office, And The Sense Of Entitlement (Updated)
I don’t like making comparisons.
But this has festering in my mind this past week since President Noynoy Aquino enunciated his “walang wang-wang (no unauthorized sirens and blinkers), walang ( vehicular traffic) counter flow simultaneous with the Chief Executive waiving his absolutely legal option of breezing unimpeded through traffic lights as he travels to work each day.
His critics are saying that P.Noy is engaging in “cosmetic populist stunts and giving his security people nightmares.”
But if you think this through a bit, the Republic’s 15th President is not just showing that he leads by example.
Rather he is striking at the core of what’s wrong with society – a society where influence as represented by high office has made Philippine traffic laws optional, of public office (a station considered to be a public trust) being usurped to peddle influence.
With all sorts of personages sporting vanity and so-called ‘commemorative plates’ identifying them as mayors, councilors, and even lawyers, the real effect is that ‘lowly traffic aides and even bona-fide policemen wave them through traffic lights as ‘VIPs’.
What’s with this arrogance, this illusion of entitlement that some Filipinos have?
Hey, we now also have the country Vice President complaining that his office lacks the pizzazz (yabang), that his office lacks paintings and that his high-backed executive chair is not to his liking.
He’s now even reported to desire for an ‘official residence.’
News reports have even pointed to the Coconut Palace, ostensibly built during the Marcos era to showcase the humble coconut, as the probable ‘Veep’s Home’.
An official home fit for a would-be ‘King’, ain’t it?
What examples should we follow as we dream of a better Philippines?
Pres. Noynoy Aquino is now reported as having “no objection” to the Vice President having an ‘official residence’.
Such a move will, however, be possible only if the 1987 Constitution is amended specifically to give the Veep a residence paid for by the Filipino taxpayer.
The fundamental law provides:
Section 6. The President shall have an official residence. The salaries of the President and Vice-President shall be determined by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure. No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the term of the incumbent during which such increase was approved. They shall not receive during their tenure any other emolument from the Government or any other source.
The provision is clear that only the President is entitled to have an Official Resident.
Imagine, a charter amendment to give the Vice President one???