The oath-taking of the elected

june 30, 2013
 
HASHTAGS BREW
By Cha Monforte
 
Oath-taking is the penultimate legal leg of the elected. The last is their actual assuming of office. The first, lest we forget, is their being elected, which is the costliest. Well, the elected politicians have taken their oath of office until Sunday noon, the cut-off date and time set by law. We don’t know the fate of those who failed to take their oath.
 
Davao del Norte’s elected provincial officials- the governor, vice governor and board members- swore to high heavens Sunday before 12:00 noon. Comval’s elected provincial officials swore 2 P.M. Saturday. By Sunday noon and a second after, the country had its new officials starting to perform their jobs, and defeated incumbents lost political power. 
 
Oath-taking is required for all public servants, elected or appointed. It’s an oath for which they pledge that they come in to work in government, assume in public office that is a public trust, and for which they are accountable and expected to do their best and even sacrifice their lives.
This oath includes: …”To uphold and defend the Constitution… obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees… faithfully discharge to the best of his ability the duties of the office or position… he is about to enter…” And it concludes that any public servant assumes the obligation “without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”
 
What makes the elected different to the lowly public servant is that their oath-taking is a public rite. There are few who chose to swear individually before a judge or a fiscal. The lowly public servant often just signs his oath of office, and have it notarized by a fiscal and he submits it to his human resource office.
 
It’s alright that the oath-taking of the elected becomes a public rite and show. With it, they pledge to high heavens and before a sea of mortals like them. But how many have fallen short from their oaths afterwards and run their office like a private business. 
 
I am reminded of a book about the kleptocracy festering among public offices in ARMM areas. It can vanish if the conspiracy of the state auditors to the corrupt elected is cut. But who can honestly and bravely audit a corrupt warlord reigning in the corridors of power?
 
State auditors, mortals as they are, meekly ride on blind monkey’s game or they become just so cozy of their positions and avoid the road where angels fear to tread. That’s not only true to Muslim Mindanao, but also to Christian Mindanao. What perhaps matters is that kleptocracy in the latter comes up largely in secret goings on until flagrante delicto or the least of it following an Ombudsman or Sandiganbayan complaint.
 
The oath of office is a sacred pledge that first encages a raging bull of corruption among our local government units (LGUs). In a culture of corruption, the problem is the bull even if head-spanked to be timid goes around berserk when let loose. This culture is still a bad road needing to be straightened out. This is very much a subject to be connected by PNoy’s daang matuwid.
 
But for PNoy’s road after our elected swore oath, is this straight road going up or down now in our LGUs?
 
TAGS & HASHES: Daang matuwid? But we continue to hear about the failings of X-Ray Project of Bureau of Customs- Davao Port ….. So here’s the rampancy of banned goods entering and flooding the Davao market. (e-mail, chamonforte@yahoo.com, views from the Rural Urban News)
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