Friday, October 23, 2015
76. The Vice President
... is a spare tire. That's what I can remember from the Joaquin Bernas lectures for the Ateneo Law JD Class of 1995. Nothing much could be added to that description, except that the spare tire may be appointed to the cabinet and would not be punished for taking double pay for that. Yet, for the May 2016 elections, the Office of the Vice President (VP) appears to have the most number of legitimate aspirants, some of whom are sharing presidential candidates with others. Erap Estrada has set this trail when he slid down for the VP position in the 1992 elections and handily won against Lito Osmena, who was the VP candidate of Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. Gloria Arroyo was Erap's VP, and we all remember how Susan Roces chided her for stealing the presidency "not once, but twice." Yet, I have nothing against political strategy, unless it highlights nothing but ambition for the politician. And this VP contest is one that underscores the weak and spineless crop of politicians we have in this country. The office of the VP as a spare tire was intended as a stop gap measure in the event of vacancy in the presidency. It is a pointless job, because it has no official function, and when the vacancy in the presidency occurs and the vice president ascends to the presidency, a new vice president takes over, with the same predicament, he or she has nothing to do. So, when somebody aspires for the vice presidency, especially if he or she has no president or is sharing one with others, we can be sure that he has no agenda but power. For whatever campaign promise the VP candidate makes, without a president, it is not doable. The VP has no actual function. The VP shouldn't even have a budget, except probably for medical and security services. Thus, if this VP candidate wins, whoever becomes president would have to put a batallion of spies on the office, to make sure the VP doesn't steal the presidency again, so to speak. Of course, I have a VP candidate that I like and I think the foregoing description is not true of all the VP candidates. Yet this VP circus is too much to be ignored.