Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Constitutional Requirements for Key Public Officials

For a member of the House of Representatives: “…a natural born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write…” (Phil. Constitution Art. VILL, Sec, 6)

For a member of the Senate: “…a natural born citizen of the Philippines and on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write…” (Idem, Art. VI, Sec. 3)

For the President of the Philippines: “…a natural born citizen of the Philippines… able to read and write, and at least forty-five years of age, on the day of the election…” (Idem, Art. VII, Section 2)

Thus stand the basic constitutional requirements for the candidacy and possible election to high, distinct, and honorable public offices in the Philippine government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” In addition to Filipino citizenship which is a matter of course for public officials in the Philippines plus physical age, said candidates even for the highest elective public offices in the country, the more critical requirement is the ability and “read and write.” Such constitutional demands cannot be more “democratic and republican” so that “sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” (Idem, Art. 2, Sec. 1).

Well and good! Impressive and inspiring! But legitimate questions come to mind. Why is it that in the realm of ground realities, even but a simple elementary school teacher, not to mention plain nurses and accountants, are definitely required to know more than just knowing how to read and write? Why is it that dentists, physicians, lawyers, and other professions, must know even very much more than simple knowing how to read and write? They are certainly now high standing public officials vested with public authority, meant for public service in view of public welfare. Yet, they categorically must know more then merely how to read and write? They are certainly not high standing public officials vested with public authority, meant for public service in view of public welfare. Yet, they categorically must know more than merely how to read and write.

Without the least insinuating that candidates for such high public offices as Congressmen, Senators, and President of the Republic of the Philippines should be all professionals of one kind or another, and wherefore it is enough that they are simply “able to read and write,” would it be against the Constitution of the Philippines as a “democratic and republican State” to at least further require that the candidates for said important and key Government positions at least, should also have the necessary IQ plus the relevant EQ establishing a normal personality constitution? Are these requirements too much to demand and even go contrary to the Philippine Constitution?