June 21, 2024

At our “Usapang Legal” program last Monday, my partner, Peter Wasing, and I noticed that most of the text messages subject matter of our banter were the qualifications of those running for public office. Someone said let us revive the proposal of the late senator Miriam Santiago to require candidates to be college graduate to be eligible.
In some companies, those applying for a clerical position are required to at least have 72 units in college or a degree as with other fields in government or outside, so why not for those who supposedly will lead us?
Our Constitution says all it takes is one must be able to read and write and every Juan in this modern times can do that.
With people over 70 years old yearning with moist eyes to come back in power locally and nationally, we must have a second look and impose an age requirement for candidates. Consistent with term limit, the time is now ripe for an age limit. Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?”
The judiciary retires its members at 70; the Department of Justice at 65; private companies at 60; SSS pensioners at 60; the civil service and other government agencies at 60 or 65. Let’s do this too to elective local officials and limit them 65 or 70 below?
Age does not matter as long as matter does not age. Not so in politics and governance. Some people just have this greedy desire to be in power forever and the younger generations are denied their chances to show their wares too. Apay isu da laengen nga kanayon? Sila na ba forever? That’s why in the far-flung provinces, the only solution for over-age politicians who refuse to retire is divine intervention or a bullet in the head, whichever comes first. Let’s get rid of over-age candidates and while we are at it, let’s get rid of those whose victory is attributed to the Smartmatic’s Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine.
There is a retirement age in the private or public sectors, but no age limit for president, vice president, congressmen, senators, governors or mayors?
Lest we be misunderstood, we have the highest regard and esteem for our elders and there really is nothing wrong with being over 70. In fact, with the wisdom they have, their advice is valued and following them means nothing can ever go wrong. Most of seniors remain sharp and far more impeccable in their reputation, except for a rare few, than many in public office much younger than them. But the point is, there is an age limit in the public service.
And so, manong Benny Carantes retired as city prosecutor at 65, the late Judge Nanding Cabato at 70, Gen. Eugene Martin and the rest of the uniformed officers at 56.
We must be consistent and impose a similar age limit on individuals who hold elective or appointive public office. There is logic in applying the age limit equally across all positions of responsibility in the government especially making a candidate reaching the age of retirement ineligible to run for public office or appointed to one.
Various reasons are omnipresent in support of the idea and for consistency, people face a retirement age in the public and private sectors, so why not have a similar one for elective and appointive officials.
Of course, the Constitution has to be amended but for now there is one alternative – the will of the people not to elect them into office and take their word that they will just do their apos-tolate.
Then again, that is admittedly not a comforting thought for many, like you know who. Sigh!