Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Question on Credibility

The success of Lead Philippines depends on its proponent's credibility. We have seen too much of politicking and various political gimmickry that we do not want to fall victim to another movement who in the end will only use us. The question is: What makes a person credible?

The question though can be answered only by the people themselves. It is a judgement that would be made later on, but which judgement will result in the success or failure of this initiative. At this point, we can only guess what makes a person credible.

A person is credible if he/she does not have any conflicting interest. For an initiative such as Lead Philippines, politics is THE conflict of interest. For example, if I am running for a national position, or if I am pushing for a candidate in 2010, I may may not be a bad person but there is definitely a question on my motives. Is it important therefore that proponents should be disinterested in running or pushing for anyone in 2010?

What if the proponent is running for a local position, say as a town councilor? Is there conflict of interest in that situation? Some will say there is. We do not want anyone using this initiative to make a name for himself for use in future elections.

And it doesnt stop there. Should the proponents be banned from running even beyond 2010? Are we not eliminating a lot of good people if we ban any present or would-be politicans from joining a worthy movement such as Lead Philippines?

Even defining who the proponents are and who should be subject to elimination of conflict of interests is a tricky subject. Lead Philippines may be registered as a non-profit organization and we therefore need at least 15 trustees. Definitely those 15 trustees must be as credible as can be. However, there would be people who would work for Lead Philippines. There will be officers who should have the same credibility. There will be a secretariat which employees should be subjected to the same standards. Or should they?

Lead Philippines will also be hiring talents. Lead Philippines will also accept donations and sponsorships. Should those talents be subjected to the same standards? Should donors and sponsors, including corporate sponsors, be asked to abstain from running or endorsing a candidate? Should donors/sponsors be asked even not to nominate anyone from their ranks to join in the Lead Philippines leadership search itself? What if the Rotarians, or the Lions, or the Jaycees support this initiative and they donate money, should we ban them from nominating a candidate for Lead Philippines?

To answer all of these, I have the following suggestions:

1. All members of the board of trustees and all the officers and direct hired employees of, and those who volunteer to work with Lead Philippines should be asked to sign a written statement that they are not running or endorsing or helping any candidate, local or national, in 2010. If in case they run or endorse someone in 2010, Lead Philippines as a group should openly discredit those persons.

2. Lead Philippines may accept donations and corporate sponsorships but such donors and sponsors should be asked to sign a waiver that they will not try to influence the search process. Corporate sponsors should not be able to nominate anyone to Lead Philippines. Non-profit organizations may nominate their leaders, but their donations if any should not be used in anyway to make sure their nominees are accepted or selected. Lead Philippines should make it a point for everyone to know that it has nothing to do with donors and sponsors who endorses future candidates.

3. Lead Philippines should hire talents known for their independence and credibility. If in case those talents will later run or endorse candidates, again Lead Philippines should have nothing to do with them.

It may be ironic that Lead Philippines is asking people to do what they can to help the country, to join in the political fray even, and then to dissuade people within itself from politics. But I believe that Lead Philippines is too good an idea to pass up and I think it is worth a bit of a sacrifice if you can call it that. I believe that there are many good and able Filipinos and plucking a few them away from politics is worth it. Some of those good Filipinos should lead the country in politics. Some of them are destined to be on the sidelines.

Some might think these conditions are too harsh. Is there a better way to do this? Are there any other suggestions?

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