Advice about the Vice

My juvenile consciousness first came across the position of the vice president when I would see posters of Tolentino paired with Marcos in red and blue, and of Laurel with Aquino in yellow and green, hanging on electric posts and on walls alongside the sign, “Post No Bill”. Okay, a President has to have a Vice President. Sergio Osmena was vice president to Manuel L. Quezon. Elpidio Quirino was vice president to Manuel A. Roxas. Carlos P. Garcia was vice president to Ramon Magsaysay. Diosdado Macapagal was vice president to Carlos P. Garcia. Joseph Extrada was vice president to Fidel V. Ramos. Glorai Arroyo was vice president to Joseph Estrada. Half of those successions were due to the vice president running for the presidency after the term of the president. In all of those cases, while serving their terms, the vice president was at odds with his president. (Wait, I don’t remember GMA taking jabs at Erap, but she did welcome replacing him once he got ousted.) Some presidents were gentleman enough to assign tasks to their vice presidents from the opposing party, like crime prevention and housing development, while other presidents were not; and the law does not direct them to do so.

Some local political leaders decided to explore and push the traditions of fashion and mix and match tops and bottoms; matching pink with red, matching two city mayors, mixing combinations of senators and other combinations. In some president and vice president candidates, the collaboration is obvious as should be. Some vice presidential candidates don’t seem to be happy campaigning with his/her presidential candidate. Some presidential candidates seem to be quick to let go of his/her vice presidential candidate whenever convenient. It seems as though, the vice presidential candidate is merely a token position. It seems as if some presidential candidates tag along VP candidates just for the heck of it.

Most probably, the winning vice president would not be the running mate of the winning president. Maybe it would have been better if we vote for the president and vice president as an inseparable pair. Why do we vote for president and vice president in the first place, or for all the elected positions for that matter? Don’t we expect them to be placed in position to serve efficiently? (or at least, that’s how the ideal perspective goes) If they get elected together, there’s a good chance that they would be working together. (Although, there still exists the possibility that along their terms, their stands could go in different directions.) There would be less bickering between the two highest offices of the nation. It’s always irritating when either or both parties go out of their ways to expose the other side’s alleged anomalies when they could just have focused their energies on solving the country’s problems. Let’s have a presidential partnership in which either does not accuse the other of corruption, land scam or any form of injustice. Let’s have a presidential tandem in which one does not suspect the other of conspiracy, inefficiency or impropriety. If the president and vice president were chummy with each other, the former would appoint the latter at the position in which he/she would offer the optimum performance. The President would not place the Vice President at a position with the ulterior motive of humiliation because of expected poor performance because the task was not the latter’s forte. The public would be spared of two camps slinging charges against each other. We’ll have a Malacanang focused in competent government service.

We could consider doing without the position of vice president altogether. (Yes, I know, it would take a change in the Constitution.) When the Constitution says, “The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet.”, it also means that the President may choose not to appoint the Vice President in a position in the Cabinet. No specific duties and responsibilities are provided for the vice president. He/She could initiate relief programs for calamity victims. But even if he/she does not, it would be constitutional and legal. (I’m not just sure if it would be ethical.) No wonder some vice presidential candidates are treated as tokens in the race, because even the supreme law of the land implies so. Even if those sections were deleted from the article, it would not make much difference. (Well, maybe, there would be some adjustments on the budget; but that could actually be diverted to other positions or projects.) In this way, we’ll be spared of the president vs. vice president drama, or any other vice presidential issue.

“Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.” -3 John 1:8