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Elites in Government

by Marciano A. Paroy Jr.

The description Elites in Government instantly suggests that there exists such a
category of people who fit right into the description. We are immediately confronted with
two questions: (1) Is the distinction legitimate? (2) For whom does the description
apply?

The distinction is real. If we taka a semantic approach and use the exact
meaning of the words elite and government then we bring our attention to the high-
ranking officials who occupy key positions in various government posts. Their being
categorized as elite is sort of given particularly through elections. However, the
category Elites in Government obviously has a different undertone, and it brings to
mind that there is a connotative meaning surrounding such distinction.

Taking the second line of thought, the term Elites in Government refers to the
select few who are not necessarily holders of elective positions, but people whose
power resides in their ability to influence the workings of government. They exert
influence on the operations of government and how governance should be handled.
They can even go as far as dictate who shall run the government.

This influence is not based on fame or popularity, but on two things, which are
further described by identifying the sub-categories of our controversial clause.

First: The Wealthy. Wealth is the sole basis of being a member of the elite. There
is no question on how money can operate the machineries of government according
to the conditions that may be demanded by the moneyed few. Members of this sub-
category include the long-time oligarchs that own big businesses in the Philippines.
Their influence can never be doubted, since they had been silently running their
machineries on puppetry for as long as historians can remember.

Second: The Intellectuals. Likewise, membership in this grouping is only given to


a select few, and their power may not be as forceful as the first grouping. The first
grouping has the tendency to insist decisions, especially if decisions to be made would
directly affect their interests. The second grouping, however, takes a more subtle
approach because the outputs of their brains may or may not be solicited or their
wisdom may not find immediate support but no one can deny the influence that they
exert, especially in both the legislature and the judiciary. They may not be hailed noisily,
but definitely their thoughts weight a lot, long after the executive chief has vacated his
seat.

There are many elected officials who, after their term, simply vanish into oblivion
simply because they had no real BIG money in the first place, and more significantly,
they had no BRAINS to somehow leave us with written wisdom that lasts for a long long
time.