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The padrino system, or patronage in Filipino culture and politics, is the value system where one gains favor, promotion, or political appointment through family affiliation (nepotism) or friendship (cronyism), as opposed to one's merit. The padrino system in the Philippines has been the source of many controversies and corruption.
It has been an open secret that one cannot join the political arena of the Philippines without mastery of the padrino system.[neutrality is disputed] From the lowest Barangay official, to the President of the Republic, it is expected that one gains political debts and dispenses political favor to advance one's career or influence, if not wealth.
In the executive
The padrino system sometimes exists in Executive, due to the leader's allegiance to his or her party, supporters and contributors.
In the legislative
The issue of political dynasties has always been touched, especially during elections, but the subject has been much avoided by politicians alike who have a wife, son, daughter, or a relative sitting in office as well.
When the pork barrel scam broke out, Senator Jinggoy Estrada claimed that Pres. Benigno Aquino III used the Disbursement Acceleration Program to influence the 188 Congressional Representatives and 20 Senators to approve the impeachment complaint against Renato Corona. On July 2, 2014, the Supreme Court decision on DAP was ruled as unconstitutional.
In the military
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was known as one of the best in the post-World War geopolitical scene in Southeast Asia, if not the whole of Asia. Majority of the officers were graduates from the West Point-styled Philippine Military Academy.
In order to get a higher rank or office, one must have at least known or befriend a high-ranking official to be promoted.
In the society
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Efforts to combat padrino system
In September 2008, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago passed Senate Bill No. 2616, or the "Anti-Political Recommendation Act", however this as usual has been shelved for the time being and is currently pending at the Committee level. She once again urged its passage in 2013, in response to accounts of the so-called "three kings" of the Bureau of Customs being supported by influential backers – Carlos So (backed by Iglesia ni Cristo), Rogel Gatchalian (claimed to be an associate of then-Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile), and Ricardo Belmonte (then-House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.'s soon-to-retire brother) – during that year.
Senatorial candidate Diosdado Valeroso, a former police chief superintendent, in Rappler's senatorial debate on April 22, 2016, proposed a meritocracy bill that would shield law enforcement agencies and government employees from political influence, most especially from the padrino system.
- "Bills/Resolutions - Senate of the Philippines". legacy.senate.gov.ph. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
- Yamsuan, Cathy (August 5, 2013). "Bill aims to stop 'padrino' setup". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
- Francisco, Katerina (April 22, 2016). "Valeroso pushes for meritocracy bill vs padrino system". Rappler. Retrieved January 22, 2021.