Good manners 101 in LGU transitions
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - July 10, 2019 - 12:00am

Our public officials are not just instruments in the performance of public functions. They are behavior models for our young ones to emulate and look up to. Their behavior can either inspire or disappoint the youth. They have been elected not only to serve the people but also to act as icons of good values, of positive attitudes, and exemplary demeanor and deportment.

It is quite disheartening that some public officials who have always been looked up to as mature statesmen, full of wisdom and dignity, and above petty bickering and intrigues, would behave like small children as defeated politicians vacate their offices, and as new entrants into public offices assume their positions. It is really embarrassing to the millennial generation that baby boomers and generation X and Y political leaders cannot master their own childish emotions and impulses, and succumb to reckless acts and imprudent behavior that does not speak well of their character and breeding.

I am saddened that a highly respected former mayor, bearing a venerable family name, would allegedly strip his office even of tiles and bathroom fixtures based on the alleged premise that he and his close friends supposedly were the ones who spent for their installation. I overheard DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing over the radio, saying that such an actuation could constitute as basis for the filing of criminal and administrative charges. Well, let the cases be filed if that is warranted by the facts of the matter and the law on the cases. These politicians have a lot of money and influence and they have a battery of lawyers to defend them in court. Well, that to me is not important. What matters most is the kind of manners manifested by our leaders.

On the other hand, in the province, the outgoing governor who has just been sworn in as vice governor, has shown enough humility to announce that he would pay a courtesy call to the newly inducted governor, so as to manifest his good faith in starting a teamwork between the two highest officials of the province, and his decision to support the new administration's programs. Instead of being welcomed with a commensurate gesture of goodwill, the new vice governor was criticized for the debts incurred by the province, and for daring to start the Resource Center building, which allegedly would outshine the prestige of the Capitol Building and detract from its historical value and significance.

Well, that can be subject of a court battle, and that is not too important. The protagonists have their array of lawyers who can fight it out in court. What is more disturbing is the level of maturity among our public officials. To our mind really, what matters most is the behavioral implications of such acts. Do they give a good example to our youth? Do they manifest commendable values, attitudes and habits worthy of emulation? Things can be replaced, tiles and fixtures can be replaced. The construction of the building can be stopped. The loans can be inquired into. But the images of officials committing breaches of good manners cannot easily be rectified.

In life and in public service, there are things that can easily be reconstructed. But values, manners and character when stained, cannot easily be restored. And they are what really matter most.

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