A Call for Leadership vs. Abuse of Power and Authority

 Civil society for it to serve best its people with peace, order, and harmony necessarily requires good leadership and governance. In our day to day experience we depend on leaders from the very basic unit of society, the family, to our neighborhoods and Barangay, private associations  and corporations, but  more importantly the  public sector .

Our Nation is in badly need of  good leaders in  government, department heads,  managers of agencies, and corporations.

Life is a non stop learning experience, a daily adventure of things we see, hear, speak of and share.

These are the people, places, and events that we encounter in our daily lives.

Life experiences are lessons that can be joyful or painful, we can laugh about it or cry, but what is important is to learn how to draw from it the good, and the truth.

We can benefit  on our  day to day ups and downs, failures, difficulties or joys and victories of each day. This can be done when  we reflect, spend time in prayer, meditate, and use moments of silence to learn the meanings of pleasant or unpleasant experiences, hostile situations and contradictions.

Last January 15, 2014, I had a shocking ,  scandalous and unpleasant experience that to this day still bothers me. It was  quite unfortunate that a leader who ought to represent, honor, integrity, and professionalism fell short of basic norms of conduct, behavior and leadership.

Since my early youth, I had dreams of being a leader. I was indeed idealistically eager to do and become an outstanding Cub Scout , Boy Scout,  Marine Cadet training commander  ( CAT) and a ROTC officer. I learned the importance of  discipline , so as to become a leader. We were trained on  how to survive, and to remain graceful and strong under pressure.  I was fascinated by the ideals of  a ” Christian Gentelman” . Yet, I was trained to be tough , to know the Art of Self- Defense , and  to be in control of one’s passions and emotions. A good leader must first be an outstanding follower.  We have to learn how to obey so as to achieve the mission or objectives required.

Republic Act 6713 otherwise known as “An act establishing a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees, to uphold the time-honored principle of public office being a public trust, granting incentives and rewards for exemplary service, enumerating prohibited acts and transactions, and providing penalties for violations thereof and for other purposes”,  this act set certain guidelines of the Code of Conducts and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Leaders ought to show good examples, lead the way, with good behavior and right conduct at all times. The higher the position of a leader with authority should bring with it corresponding responsibilities and accountability for one’s actions. We have been taught that a good leader must learn how to listen, instead of using powerful, unpleasant words against a subordinate. A public servant is expected never to lose control of one’s temper, emotions, and act with violence or explosive angry reactions against other persons specially if they too, deserve due respect us fellow public officials, civil servants and one holding a position of government and authority.

The saying “ang pikon ay laging talo” is very true.

One of the pitfalls of some of our public officials , is grave abuse of power and authority. So,  I will summarize some pointers from Section 4 of RA 6713,  as a guide ,  and norms to practice. This is what is expected from leaders, public officials and employees, namely;

1. Commitment to public interest – uphold the common good over and above personal interest.

The Philippine News Central in Rappler wrote about “Betreyal of trust and confidence… Grave Abuse of Authority” last January 16, 2014 and stated ” ’Betrayal of trust and confidence…grave abuse of authority’.

This, according to state auditors, is what Philippine Health Insurance Corporation committed against its members when its officials and employees paid themselves a total of P87.79 million in bonuses, allowances, and reimbursements in 2003 and 2004.”

The state audit agency junks Philhealth’s appeal to reverse the disallowance of P87.79M in bonuses and allowances paid to execs and employees in 2003 and 2004.

Secretary Abad adds it might also be possible that most of the countries’ funds have already been committed to other priorities toward the end of 2013.”

2. Professionalism – this is specially true for an officer or a leader of the Professional Regulation Commission, whose task is to discharge duties with highest degree of excellence and professionalism.

3. Justness and sincerity – it is expected that a leader respect at all times the rights of others and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest.

4. Political neutrality – the leader and public officials shall not discriminate others regardless of political affiliation or preference.

Another example of poor leadership is how Haiyan Cash Pledges have been poorly managed. Quoting from Rappler.com in their write-up “HAIYAN CASH PLEDGES: PH GETS ONLY 20%”. “it’s been more than two months since typhoon Yolanda, known internationally as Haiyan, ravaged the Philippines.
At least 58 countries pledged a total of almost P23.8 billion pesos or $539 million in aid.
Of these, cash pledges total P2.8 billion or $63.4 million.
But help is coming in trickles.

As of Friday, January 10, 2014, the Philippines only received nearly P600 million or $12.3 million in cash, which is roughly 21% of the total amount pledged.
The situation is similar to Haiti’s after a magnitude-7 earthquake shook the country.
Only 53% of aid reached Haiti two years after the quake.
A United Nations official said countries tend to “forget.”
Budget Secretary Butch Abad says, “What we heard them say at the height of the Yolanda relief operations versus what you see them now delivering by way of cash, there’s a big disparity.”

5. Responsiveness to the public – public officials and employees shall extend prompt, courteous, and adequate service to the public.

6. Commitment to democracy – public officials and employees shall commit themselves to the democratic way of life and values, maintain the principle of public accountability, and manifest by deeds the supremacy of civilian authority over the military. They shall at all times uphold the Constitution and put loyalty to country above loyalty to persons or party.

To conclude, we need to address the problem on how to deal with public servants and leaders who tend to gravely abuse their power and authority against others.

Jesus and political authority

Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf.Mk 10:42) and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk 22:25),but he does not directly oppose the authorities of his time… he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due:

As his disciples are discussing with one another who is the greatest, Jesus teaches them that they must make themselves least and the servants of all. (source: Compendium of the Catholic Church No. 379.) 


Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


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