An LGU executive or senator for president?

Zoilo ‘Bingo’ Dejaresco IIITHE Social Weather Station (SWS) survey in March regarding whom the Filipino people would vote for presidency in 2016 has resulted to a statistical tie  (+ – 6 percent) between Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and Sen. Grace Poe.

The complete list of preferred presidential bets at the March surveys are: Binay (36 percent), Poe (31), Manuel Roxas II (15), Rodrigo Duterte (15), Miriam Santiago (11), Erap Estrada (11), Francis Escudero (8), Bongbong Marcos (7) and Alan Peter Cayetano (4).

Of the above in-the-running nine candidates, or noncandidates,  only two have executive local government unit (LGU) backgrounds, namely, Binay and Duterte, who are mayors of Makati and Davao cities, respectively; the other seven are all, senators like Estrada, who was both San Juan and Manila City mayor before he served as senator, as well.

Binay opines that those with  local executive exposure like himself have a better feel of the needs of the people and are, therefore, likely to become more effective as president. The Vice President then reiterated that most American presidents were local executives than state or federal officials. Our research does not show the same results.

Since the founding of the presidential system in America in 1787, 17 of the 43 presidents (40 percent) were LGU executives, and four of the last six US presidents were once governor of the different states: Jimmy Carter (governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1974), Ronald Reagan (governor of California, from 1970 to 1974), Bill Clinton (governor of Arkansas, from 1979 to 1980 and from 1983 to1993) and George W. Bush (governor of Texas from1995 to 2000).

But the danger with this kind of analysis is that this may be comparing apples and oranges. For the American system is presidential, but Federal in form, which means that the states (where the governor is the executive) have ample executive power and fiscal autonomy compared to Philippine LGUs, which are characterized by their utter dependence on imperial Manila for funds, making them less challenged.


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