With great power comes greater responsibility

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

This famous line with such powerful words of wisdom was only popularized by Spider-man, in the comics and the movie. But this admonition actually originated many centuries ago, from the pen of Voltaire and the tongue of Cicero. It is also a paraphrase of the Biblical passage from the Gospel according to St Luke, 12:48: "To whom much is given, much is expected."

And so, if you are the eldest among your siblings, your parents expect you to accept more tasks, to behave more properly, to work harder, and achieve more so that your brothers and sisters can emulate your examples. If you are the only professional in your village, your neighbors and relatives look up to you as the walking encyclopedia and the living fountain of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom whom they could rely on whenever perplexing problems need to be solved. If you are a barangay official, you are called upon to be the first to arrive when there is an accident, a fire, a crime, or an important guest coming.

If you are a mayor of a small town or a big city, you are supposed to know every nook and cranny of your territory, you should be on top of all problems like traffic, flood, garbage, drug, prostitution and gambling, crime, and youth delinquency. Yes, you are expected to settle conflicts among your underlings or have a ready solution to every issue. Indeed such a lofty position carries with it tremendous responsibility, accountability, and burdens. You should wake up the earliest and go to bed the latest. And even in your sleep, you can be disturbed when there is fire, earthquake, or volcanic eruption.

If you are the governor of even a tiny province you are supposed to visit all puroks, sitios, even the remotest islets and shoals. You’re expected to know all the village leaders and memorize their issues and grievances. You should care for the industry and tourism, the livelihood of your constituents, monitor the prices of goods and assume command responsibility over the actions, behavioral patterns, and performance of your mayors.

If you are a congressman, you weren’t elected to build bridges, highways, and waiting sheds. You were put in Congress to make laws, attend committee hearings, participate actively in legislative deliberations, ask relevant questions in plenary sessions, make proper motions, and interject at proper opportunities some intelligent interpellations. Above all, you should study the current state of our political, economic, and administrative laws, review corporate, tax and labor laws. You are a legislator, don’t spend time dealing with contractors and suppliers. Those are executive functions.

If you are a senator, you should stop being a TV or radio host and focus on legislation. You should go slow on investigations in aid of your reelection. You should study lawmaking especially if you aren’t a lawyer and read books instead of spending too much time in press conferences and delivering speeches. And if you are the president or vice president you should be on top of all the problems confronting the nation, foreign affairs, national security, poverty, natural calamities, crimes, drugs, unemployment, rising prices, deterioration of the quality of education, and more.

Since you accepted the job and claim to have the mandate of millions, you need to deliver a performance commensurate with the lofty position you occupy. And if the burdens prove too heavy and you are already sick and tired of it all, then the more honorable option is to resign, stop running for offices beyond your level of competence. Relieve the people from the burden of paying your compensation.

In short, if you cannot even crack a nut, how can you carry a mountain on your back?

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