15 March 2017
San Beda College, Manila
Q: What is the biggest obstacle to good governance the future generations of leaders will have to deal with and how can the leaders of today overcome it?
VP Leni: There are so many obstacles but one very big obstacle is the mindset of politicians. Because I remember when I was a member of Congress, I tried to pass bills that will that will force local governments to open their spaces, open spaces up for people participation. One such bill that I filed was the people empowerment bill. When it was being taken up in the committee level, um, sari-sari iyong reactions ng mga colleagues ko in Congress.
Once such reaction was bakit naman papasalihin pa natin ang mga tao sa usapin, makakagulo lang iyan, hahaba lang ang proseso. Kaya nga tayo, kaya nga tayo binigyan ng mandato kasi tayo na ang mag-rerepresent sa kanila and I think it is a very myopic view of leadership. It is a very myopic view in the sense that even if you were given a mandate already parang it will still be for the benefit of everyone if we open spaces for people participation because otherwise, this is what gives rise to dynastic, dynastic leaderships.
Pag pumunta tayo sa mga, sa mga localities, usong uso iyong Congressman kapatid o asawa ng mayor o anak. Mayor at saka vice mayor magkapatid, you know, this does not happen ony in far off rural communities.
Kahit sa mga progressive cities nangyayari ito. Parang, parang there is a sense of entitlement to positions and this is a, this is, this is an advantage this is a… papaano ko ba sasabihin na di masyadong harsh… ano siya… this is a roadblock. Ayun safe yun.
This is a roadblock to good governance because an essential element of good governance is government allowing to be criticized by ordinary people. It is only when you allow yourself to be criticized, that you allow also yourself to improve.
It is only when you allow yourself to listen, listen to contrary opinions that you become more inclusive. Pero mas uso kasi sa atin so iyon I think that’s umber one. Mas uso sa atin iyong entitlement because I was elected, ako iyong mag-dedecide. I-nelect niyo ako kaya di ko kayo papakinggan, ito ang gusto ko.
Transparency, when government is not transparent about its processes madali iyong corruption. Pag masyadong… halimbawa sa local government, even the national government, ang unang unang titignan yung discretionary o intelligence funds. Hindi iyon nirereport. Paano natin malalaman kung saan siya napupunta?
Um, kung walang opposition, walang titira doon. Lahat lang magkakasama. Alam mo iyon? Um, that’s why it’s very important for us to strengthen our institutions. It’s very important because the institutions should be policing each other. Di ba, executive, legislative, and judiciary.
Pag umabuso ang executive, dapat ang magpolice sa kanya ang legislative saka judiciary. Pero kung magkakasama silang lahat, all the time, that breeds corruption and that is the, that is the end of good governance.
Host: So now our next question, our next question is, what is your advice for the youth who are aspiring to become politicians and civil society leaders and what makes a good leader?
VP Leni: Mahirap iyong tanong. [Laughter] Because you know, it is difficult if you aspire. Iyon ang sa akin. Sa akin, you should not aspire for it. It should be something that comes naturally. Because when you aspire for something, sometimes, you will be too compromising already because you want to attain what you’re aspiring for.
Um, we see a lot of leaders, we see a lot of politicians who are actually very promising. Kasi mahusay, pero dahil sa ambisyon, dahil sa ambisyon willing to give up a lot of principles that actually should, should be given a lot of value. Because of the aspiration.
So iyong sa akin, iyon siguro iyong advice ko. Um, just do the best that you can. Just do what you want to do, because iyong leadership is, I don’t think it’s innate eh.
I, I think it’s something that should grow in you. Ako sasabihin ko sa inyo, I was never a leader before. I was the type of person who wanted to, pag may play, ako iyong curtain man. Parati akong gusto sa likod, ako iyon parati, gusto ko sa likod.
Pero iyong experience, iyong experience pag binabad ka na. Iyan gusto ko sabihin, when you have seen so much need already, pag tinulak ka, hindi ka makakaayaw. Kasi alam mo, there is a reason why you are being made to do the things that you want to do.
Ako kasi, medyo takot ako sa aspiration e. Medyo takot ako doon. Um, tingin ko, iyon iyong delikado, when at a very young age, you’re already aspiring to be the mayor of your town, parang, it’s something you work for eh.
Pero pag nauna kasi iyong aspiration, eh iyon na lang ang mahalaga. Iyon ang, marami na magiging collateral damage. Because you want to reach your aspiration. Ako sa akin, it is very important for me, noong kahit when I was still not a politician, that a leader has not aspired for a position.
Um, kaya iyong sa akin, halimbawa, iyong pagpapangulo. Hindi dapat iyon i-naaspire e. Iyong pagpapangulo dapat nakikita ka from among the crowd, because if you aspire for it, there is a tendency that you want to, parang you already become a player. Lalaruin mo na lahat just for you to be able to reach your goal.
Kaya iyong sa akin pag mayor, pag presidente, dapat people should pick you out from a crowd. Pero when you aspire for it, iyon na iyong warning signal for me e.
Kasi sometimes you’re not authentic anymore. You’re not genuine anymore, because you want to reach a goal.
So iyong sa akin, just do the best that you can, sa akin kasi, walang ibang formula than go to, as close to the ground as possible, because it’s where you develop, it’s where you develop love, it’s where you develop hope, it’s where you develop faith in people, and it is a journey to self discovery, um, malalaman mo kung ano ang gusto mo gawin.
Kasi mayroon tayong mga ganyan diba? Halimbawa, my second daughter is in medical school. Um, nasa medical school siya ngayon, pag uwi niya, marami siyang imagination kung ano magiging siya na doktor.
Pero pag uwi niya before, she wanted to be a cardiologist. Pero noong nag cardio na siya, pag uwi niya, sabi niya lang “Mama, sigurado na ako, ayoko talaga mag cardiologist.”
It’s the same thing for all of us. We need to immerse ourselves to find out, ano ba gusto natin?
Hindi iyon napipilit.