MANILA — Non-degree holders should continue having a shot at the presidency, Vice President Leni Robredo said, as she opposed changing the qualifications for government’s top job.
The 1987 constitution says the president should be a natural-born Filipino, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years old on election day, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years before the polls.
Asked if it was time to change this constitutional requirement, Robredo said, “Ako, hindi.”
(For me, no.)
The presidential aspirant acknowledged the issue was “contentious” and some argue the requirement are too “minimal.”
But Robredo said constitution framers did not want to close the presidency to people who did not have the means to earn a degree.
“Totoo (true), we would have wished na ang pangulo is better prepared. Pero sa atin kasi (but for us), we put a lot of premium on not closing the doors to people who have not been given the opportunity to have enjoyed the same privileges the others had,” she said in an interview with veteran host Boy Abunda that was streamed Wednesday.
She continued, “Iba-iba kasi iyong dahilan kung bakit hindi nakapagtapos. Kung hindi ka nakapagtapos despite the many different opportunities given to you, kasalanan mo na yon.”
(There are various reasons why people fail to graduate. If you did not graduate despite the many different opportunities given to you, that’s your fault.)
“Hindi mo puwedeng i-delineate. Hindi mo puwedeng alisan ng pagkakataon iyong mga hindi nakapagtapos dahil walang-wala,” said Robredo.
(You cannot delineate. You cannot deprive of chances those who did not graduate because they were poor.)
Instead of tweaking the qualifications for the presidency, Robredo argued it was more important to change the country’s political landscape.
“Over the years, iyong klase talaga ng pulitika na namumuo, iyon ‘yong hindi nagbibigay ng malaking access sa mga wala dahil grabe iyong patronage, dahil magastos grabe ang eleksyon,” she said.
(The kind of politics that’s forming is one that does not give great access to the marginalized because patronage is great, and the expenses for the elections is too high.)