Idiot candidate – a candidate who aspires for an elective political office purely on the basis of his/her popularity with absolutely no experience in public service or in managing anything, and with absolutely no idea of what he/she intends to do if and when that office is won.
Just as there are no masters where there are no slaves, so also are there no idiot candidates when there are no idiot voters.
This is as good a time as any to consider how we can eliminate, or at least discourage, both from inflicting their presence in our elections.
Nandy Pacheco’s Kapatiran Party would require all candidates for all offices to have college degrees, and was roundly criticized for it on the grounds that it is elitist. I would rather that all candidates for all public offices be required to pass qualifying exam, whether or not they have college degrees.
We require lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, pilots, mechanics, electricians, nurses, surgeons, midwives, accountants, bus and jeepney drivers, private motorists, priests, teachers, academicians, chemists, air traffic controllers, pharmacists, geologists, military and naval officers, realtors, insurance agents, psychiatrists, sports referees, maritime officers, medical technologists, physical therapists, caregivers, etc. to take and pass qualifying exams before they are allowed to practice or operate. [Just recently OWWA is even requiring DH to undergo some training for Php12,000.00 before being deployed abroad] Why can’t we do the same for those who have the temerity to want to manage our barangays, towns, cities, provinces and country, or to represent us in the lower or upper houses of congress?
The idea that public office is open and free to all who aspire for it- after meeting age, literacy and residence requirements- is an anachronistic concept that is no longer appropriate for the complexities of modern life. It is a dumbing down of the democratic ideal to allow stupid and ignorant people to run for public office, because they are popular with the squealing masa.
Certain skills, certain background knowledge, certain aptitudes, are now or should now be demanded of all candidates. And the most democratic way to enforce that is to require all candidates to pass qualifying exams.
The exams can be designed by the Development Academy of the Philippines or the College of Public Administration in UP or some such institution, and should be geared to the different levels of public offices; barangay or municipal level, provincial level, national level.. Perhaps, we should include psychological profile.]
It should test the candidate’s familiarity with and knowledge of Philippine History, political science, public administration, pertinent local codes and national laws, and – for national officials- international relations, world history and business interactions among nations.
By this means, we can screen out the stupid and the ignorant from our politics- no matter how popular they may be, and save us from the embarrassment of having Idiot Officials in our government.