When impartiality is gone, we are in big trouble

When impartiality is gone, we are in big trouble

Sep 26, 2023, 3:25 AM
Atty. Junie Go-Soco

Atty. Junie Go-Soco


Lady Justice is blindfolded to signify fair treatment and impartiality in the dispensation of justice. She holds scales to demonstrate the impartiality of the court’s decision and a sword as a symbol of the power of justice.

To what extent can such impartiality be practiced in the executive arm of government? If government executives are partial or favor unduly certain parties to decisions they must make, can they be expected to be impartial like those in the judicial branch of government?

It seems that, when comparing the judiciary and the executive branches, the practice is dramatically different. There is no penalty for partiality in the executive branch. It is par for the course, so to speak. Such partiality or bias is part of the reward system. Of course, there could be reasons why favors are made to certain people or groups but even the standards for arriving at those reasons are one-sided. For example, barangays that gave a wide winning margin to the incumbent Mayor would likely be among the first to be given projects. Barangays with considerable voting populations are also given priority in the distribution of projects.

The interplay of forces is different in the executive branch of government from that of the judiciary. Political leaders have a large and lasting influence and power in making decisions that work to their advantage during crunch time. In many ways, these leaders protect interest groups to whom they are indebted for past favors, in expectation of future favors particularly come election time. some groups are favored because they helped fund the campaigns of politicians. So, when the time comes to protect such contractors, these politicians will, without any hesitation, willingly do so.

It would seem all right if the party favored is deserving. In a situation when the party favored is the source of continuing project implementation problems, then the action of such leaders is suspect. Especially if the favored group is composed of contractors of infrastructure projects who helped these politicians in funding their campaigns. Such action can even be bad for constituents whose lives are made worse by the actions or inaction of these favored groups. It perpetuates a vicious cycle that can only be stopped by the electorate through the power of the ballot. 

If such a situation persists, then we are in big trouble. Government resources are wasted. Opportunities for significant economic improvements are lost and cannot be recovered. It is a pitiful situation that is only made clear if one looks at the big picture, something that leaders of relatively small constituencies may not appreciate. As a well-known English idiom goes: something has got to give. These leaders should not be allowed to exercise their partiality for a long time. Voters will notice. It could be the start of the end of their careers.

There is an endpoint after which a turnaround can be achieved. Until that happens, government officials who maintain partiality and forget what is needed by the people they are supposed to serve will bring their constituencies to perdition.

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