Losing Candidates as Government Consultants, and Victor’s History

July 16, 2022


Citizen Carmen F. Amores, who says she gave 40 years of her life to public service, e-mailed Civil Service Commissioner Aileen Lourdes Lizada (cc: moi) asking the CSC to release an official statement regarding the hiring of losing candidates as “consultants”. 


What aroused her concern is that the 1987 Constitution (as did the 1973 Constitution) specifically forbids for the period of one year, the appointment of losing election candidates “to any office in the Government or any Government-owned or -controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries” (Article IX-B, Sec. 6). At the same time, there are reports that losing Senatorial Candidates Salvador Panelo, Harry Roque, and Emmanuel Piñol had been offered consultancies or advisory positions with, respectively, the office of Senator Padilla, the office of the Vice-President/DepEd Secretary, and the office of the President.


If these people had indeed been offered and accepted these positions, this was an obvious contravention of the Constitution, and Ms. Amores wanted the CSC to make its position clear.  

Reader, that Ms. Amores took the initiative to email the CSC to ask for enlightenment is good news. That is how concerned citizens should act. Another good news is that CSC Commissioner Lizada was very prompt in acknowledging receipt of the email. The bad news is that the Amores’s email was passed on to  the Human Resource Policies and Standards Office (HRSPO) of the CSC  for “their appropriate action and proper monitoring”, and it is this office which was given the task of apprising Ms. Amores on “any actions taken”. Bureaucratese. How long this will take, only time will tell.

Really, Reader, the request of Ms. Amores is simple:  for the CSC to state whether the hiring of losing candidates as “consultants” was ok or not, given Art. IX-B, Sec 6 of the Constitution. Actually, there can be only one answer: NO, it is not ok. It would be in contravention of, or possibly worse, a circumvention of the provision.

Nothing can be clearer than the wording of Sec. 6. But I asked my resident Constitutional expert, anyway, and he was categorical about it.  After all, these candidates were turned down by the electorate for positions in government, so no government funds should be expended on them for at least a year. And the principle is to make sure that politicians don’t use government funding to promote the “spoils” or  patronage system and its corrupting influence.  When I lost in the 2001 elections, I had to wait a year to return to my 30-year teaching position in the University of the Philippines. That’s the price one has to pay. 

CSC, step up, please.

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“History is written by the victors” is a phrase that has cropped up repeatedly in the facebook and twitter comments on the history-is-tsismis brouhaha. As I see it, it actually forms part of the on-going campaign of the Marcos family, the objectives of which, as Rappler’s John Nery so succinctly puts it, are Rehabilitation, Repudiation, Reposession and Realignment (the 4 Res). 
What role does “history is written by the victors” play in this campaign? Here’s how it goes: The evaluation of the 20-year term of Marcos-the-elder, which was that it was a failure, was done by the people who drove him out of office (the former victors). So now Marcos-the-younger (the current victor) is rewriting the story – that his father’s term was a Golden Era. Rehabilitation.
The EDSA Revolt, (according to the former victors) started with the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.,  and ended with the Filipino people’s rejection of Marcos cheating in the 1986 snap elections and their acceptance of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s confession that martial law was imposed after government-staged “ambushes” and “bombings”. So now, the current victor rewrites the story: the first step is erase or denigrate the memory of Ninoy, the second step is  making a movie (Maid in Malacañang), showing Marcos as the victim rather than the offender. The Repudiation. And that’s just the first two steps of many to be taken in the next six years.
But all the above assume that “history is written by the victors” is a truism. It is not. Just google it, Reader.  What’s more there are so many videos on YouTube which patiently explain why it is not. One even calls the phrase foolish. Example: you think that if Russia wins in Ukraine (heaven forbid), it will be able to convince the world that it was not a naked land grab? With CNN and BBC and all the photographs, documents, reports? In the same manner, the whole world was watching the Philippines in 1986. No way can the story be rewritten.

But they will try, anyway. So let’s get ready for our push back, folks.  Their third step is that they’re going to romanticize Martial Law – this year marks the 50th anniversary of its imposition – so we have to show the horror of what it was like with the launch of the ML 50 Never Again campaign. The truth will prevail.

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