The stronger a democracy is, the more mature leadership it requires. This thought came to me as I saw Peque Gallaga’s comments about public criticism of government in the aftermath of Yolanda’s onslaught. It was quoted in Junep Ocampo’s Facebook status.
Such a matured stature of leadership is prepared to meet accountability to the pubic not only as a matter of liabilities to its laws when there is abuse or misuse of authority. But also it must have courage to face the public by way of respect for the right to free expression and for redress of grievances as regards the way that leadership exercises its prerogatives and powers in the manner it functions and governs.
Why should anyone think people should hold their voice about what wrong they see in government if this is a democracy?
History has shown that persons in power can use that power of the state to retaliate with abuse. It can use that power to deprive the public of true service and serve its vested interest. And unless the public and the media are always vigilant against abuse, and if the citizens think they should have personal loyalty to those in authority to benefit from their benevolence, then governance as a moral duty to serve people under Divine Providence shall cease to be the primary character of public office.
A matured stature of leadership is not perfect or without error but it can face the criticisms by doing better under such public view of its functions. And to show that public wellness really rests above the individuality of the person in authority, it is the office as a matter of true servanthood to the common good that must be accountable as its primary nature even before weighing the person behind such authority.
Voice is the first and often the only true instrument by which the public guides state authority. If any causes that voice to be impeded, then democracy is dead. And the powerful can sway in any direction and claim it as public good.
It is not enough that it is perceived to have moral uprightness. The mantle of true public leadership cannot be like onion skin that it recedes under public criticism, neither indifferent that it sets aside public opinion. The exercise of public office drives itself into that delicate balance or its serves only its own good.
I do not agree with everything Peque Gallaga says but each of us share in the manner and nature of public voice. So people must be heard even if it speaks in words that the leadership does not appreciate. If Yolanda could speak, it would laugh at approval ratings on politicians.
- Director Peque Gallaga’s Facebook rant goes viral (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- Manila film director hits back at critics (ireport.cnn.com)
- You can lead even if you’re not in charge (dredwilliams.wordpress.com)
- Korina Sanchez reports from Ormoc, Anderson Cooper still in Tacloban (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- Peque Gallaga on Ted failon, Mar Roxas: They went to Tacloban for to the photo op; Korina Sanchez was not in Tacloban while Cooper was there (filipinoloveteam.wordpress.com)