Issues and Challenges in Philippine Politics and Governance

Improving government performance is the battle cry of every political administration. The absence of good governance is the reason why many countries—especially in the third world continue to fail in their efforts at poverty reduction and in their quest for economic and human development. Accountability plays a very crucial role in good governance (Healey & Tordoff , 1995).

Our bid for good governance stretched back since we gained our independence as a nation. The later part of 1990’s witnessed the most recent attempt with the Ramos administration’s plan to reengineer the bureaucracy and set the guiding principles for reorganizing and improving government operations (World Bank & Asian Development Bank, 2002). Then came the Estrada administration’s creation of the Presidential Commission on Effective Governance (PCEG) (which was created through Executive Order (EO) No. 165, dated 19 October 1999), to formulate an institutional strengthening and streamlining program for the executive branch, including GOCCs and state universities and colleges. Then the reform bid of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, the blue print of which was laid down in her MTPDP aiming to reorient the government bureaucracy, minimize overlaps in public programs and projects, check the expansion of government activities, and stress the importance of building strong institutions capable of implementing good policies and delivering responsive essential services.

Sadly, none of the names mentioned above successfully made the Philippine government comes nearer to the ideals of a “good” or “accountable” government. The constitutional and legal frameworks in the Philippines may provide the foundations for good governance, but with the absence of a serious system of making political leaders accountable, many policies fail to command respect and compliance. Lack of accountability has resulted to extensive graft and corruption in the country which undermines and subverts the rule of law.

We shall here consider some of the many perennial problems of governance in the Philippines which includes the Philippine electoral process, problem with impeachment, congressional ethics committee, legislating beyond the will of legislature, and corruption in the judiciary.