Presidential endorsement: ethical or unethical?

posted April 24, 2016 at 11:01 pm
In my MBA class on Lasallian Business Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility, we start the class by praying about a news item.  One night, the news was about how one of the vice president candidates had said that President Noynoy Aquino should not endorse any candidate for national positions in the May elections to show that the elections would, indeed, be fair.  As the class was preparing to pray, a classmate asked, “Is it ethical for the president to endorse someone to run for presidency?” Most answered that the act is unethical and that the president should promote fairness instead in all forms especially this coming elections.

On the other hand, as far as I remember, I was the only one who answered that it is ethical for the president to endorse his candidate in the same way that an executive in an organization can. It is normal for a corporate manager to endorse someone for a higher position if he or she knows that this person is qualified. Thus, the act of endorsing will become unethical only if the president uses his power to manipulate the election and/or allow his candidate to use government funds and facilities.

The loophole

In the corporate world, management discusses the endorsement of an executive behind closed doors to avoid conflict, promote fairness and maintain the morale of the employees who are not endorsed. However, President Aquino has publicly endorsed his candidate.  This, I believe, is the loophole in my initial position that it is ethical for the president to endorse any candidate.

Upon researching, I found that Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution provides that “no officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity.”  Those exempted are appointed government officials, who are allowed to participate in partisan political activities since they are not covered by the legal ban.  Therefore, as the president has been elected into office, he should show no bias because he has the power to influence people.

Duties and responsibilities

Public servants have the duty of ensuring that the benefits and basic needs of the people are met. The different branches of the government should produce the services that will benefit the people and promote fairness.  Even in elections, equality and fairness must be shown as this will be the reflection of our government.  Politicians should not use their power to endorse candidates because their positions are intended to serve the state.   Also, I believe that a political leader with a high sense of integrity will not look for someone to follow his or her footsteps but rather, pave the way to serve the people.

It has become customary not only in the Philippines but also in other countries like the United States to endorse political successors.  As responsible citizens, we need to be critical in choosing our next leaders. We should do our homework in assessing the candidates’ qualifications – know their moral integrity, capabilities and personal qualities; understand the issues, platforms and programs of the candidates and parties; and not let a candidate buy our votes. We should vote according to our conscience and should not rely mainly on what we hear and read in the media.

Exercising the right to vote is a privilege as well as a great responsibility.  The future of the Philippines is in our hands.  Let us not lose hope, but continue to pray for our country and political leaders to have the strong will power to lead our country with integrity, equality, and fairness to support the nation.

Jaymelyn D. Arce is an MBA student of De La Salle University. She wrote this essay for her class on Lasallian Business Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility during her first term in the program.   She may be reached at [email protected]  The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.

Topics: the loophole , duties and responsibilities , greenlight
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