Tin Bartolome

Posted at Jan 30 2016 03:56 AM

Accountability means being able to adequately explain how one spent resources and face the consequences of one’s acts.  One needs to be honest and mature to do this.

Walang Sisihan

In our household, my children learned what “walang sisihan” means early in their lives.  Even when they were young, I would lay down choices and possible consequences. Although they knew that our love and affection as parents were constant and non-negotiable, it was also clear to them that I meant business—hence, walang sisihan!  Along with this was the constant reminder to avoid doing to others what they wouldn’t want done to them—the Golden Rule, actually. 

A few friends of theirs enjoyed staying with us.  I did not expect one of them to actually impose himself on us—even when he knew he had kidney problems and needed special care.  I told him that I was once threatened with a lawsuit because I took in a friend who ran away from home and then later, her parents threatened to sue me for kidnapping!  It was ridiculous, I know, but to a 23-year-old adjusting to life alone, it was certainly disconcerting.  

When I told my son’s friend that I could not accept the responsibility of having him in the house because of his condition, he sent a text message in capital letters, accusing me of bailing out when things got rough.  He even asked his mom to convince me to take him in.

Accepting Responsibility

I thought he was the biggest brat I ever met—and his parents, the weakest mom and dad on the planet.  I told his mom that I did not raise him and could not be held responsible for what he had become.  Therefore, I had no obligation to take him in.

It did not occur to me that accountability was at issue then.  At that time, it was not clear to me why it did not feel right to accept that boy in my household.  Like manufacturers whose products are defective, parents should be able to take responsibility over them—take them back, if need be, so they do not hurt others.  

Accountability for One’s Choice

Accountability, as defined by the Business Dictionary, is the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

The highest law of the land, the Constitution, states that those in public office must be trustworthy.  Unfortunately, many public servants lack this, specially when they act with impunity—that is, when they are able to avoid punishment or fines.

But one need not be in office to be accountable.  We are as accountable for wrong choices we make when choosing whom to vote for as the crooks who get our votes—walang sisihan!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.