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Camille C.

Arandil March 28, 2020

MA- PSYCHOLOGY 1 Ms. Maria Leorupee Barros


SPECIFIC TOPIC: “Palakasan” Hiring Process (Padrino System)

“Service”, is what all the government agencies strive to establish in promulgating

and implementing laws, regulations and systems in a particular city. Although, the
government has been giving assistance and facilitate processes such as applications,
benefits for students, health & wellness and as well as social awareness of any kind.
However, the body of these organizations behind these implementations is where the
issue starts.

Taking out the duties and responsibilities of all the government agencies, we will
try to look at specifically to their employment practices. Personally, I have a lot of
friends who work in the government and all of them share the same sentiments: “dili
ra ba, basta2 makasulod dnha if walay kapit”. In my own perspective, it is somehow
hypocritical for the government (if not all, most of them) to impose or pursue fair
employment practices on other private sectors when they cannot even identify that
they are part of the clause. Hence, this became a social issue since there is a
discrepancy between the goals of the government and what they are truly doing in the

Problems and concerns on the government’s “palakasan” hiring process may

have been accepted as normal and part of the system. However, the causes of this
problem are not being presented, in fact it has not been internalized and realized by
many considering that they are working in a government, hence they are obliged to
just obey and not being able to air out their concern.

Undeniably, palakasan hiring process is more prevalent to Government sectors

compared to non-government sectors, which follows their recruitment & selection
process that would prevent the possibility of having a “favored applicant” to proceed
to the next stage of selection. To define, Nepotism or “Palakasan” System pertains to
the appointing of relatives and friends in one’s organization for which outsiders might
be better qualified. It can also be defined an inherent trait of Filipinos to take care of
their kamag-anak first, like in the appointment or designation of officials or
employees in the government service (Macabantog, 2019). Given these definitions, it
can be inferred that the padrino system is a chronic Filipino trait. Therefore, the root
of this unfair hiring process is because of our trait, our over concern for our relatives
for pride and possibly wealth. Due to this system it has an effect on the proper
implementation of the government’s hiring process, since it offers more
opportunity to those closely-related individuals than to those people who possesses
the most appropriate capacity suitable with the job. Also, this can somehow give
impact to the quality of work that is going to be executed by an individual who is a
product of the padrino system. Proper implementation of the hiring process, would
allow us to pool the most qualified applicant that is fit of the job, but because of this
system, it disregards the quality and character needed for the position. Hence,
nepotism is a discriminating act of concern.

Concept of Padrino Sytem

The term padrino was notably introduced during the Spanish time, the culture of
patronage and its associated institution, ritual kinship (compadrazgo) and greatly put
weight on the Philippine state’s capillary power or knowledge system that it does not
only give us the burden to say “no”, but that it produces things that induces pleasure,
forms of knowledge and produces discourse. The padrino system needs to be
considered as a pervasive network which runs through the whole social body. In
northern Luzon, an indigenous institution run by a lakay (headman) includes a
reciprocal network of a “big-men” and followers (W. H. Scott, 1994). Furthermore,
since Spanish times, Christianization has taken place in the Cagayan Valley, where
social relationships are heavily influnced through “folklore Catholicism,” in which the
practice of ritual kinship (compadrazgo) plays an indispensable role to formalize
allegiance and affirm bonding (Lynch, 2004). As such, despite the fact that
homogenizing national culture has been institutionalized for years through mass
education, the local government, and electoral politics, the Ibanag, Ilocano, and
Itawes cultural groups still retain their indigenous cultures (Wong, 2010). In Cagayan,
it is common to hear businessmen and politicians address and greet their concerned
counterparts as pare or mare to denote a sense of ‘we-ness’ – this is a creative (ab)use
of compadrazgo for establishing social networks and suiting individual needs (Parkin,

Having these said, this is where we can infer that modern Filipino patronage
already had pre-colonial roots. Mixing the indigenous chieftainship and the Catholic
ritual kinship, the contemporary patronage found in this region is regarded as a
creolized cultural system (the padrino system). Informants point out that the padrino
is a method which characterizes its historical and institutional characteristics. Hence,
the Spanish word padrino refers to the personage – the patron. The word method or
system pertains to a pattern of interpersonal interactions that consitute a larger moral
order. It is viewed as systemic for it covers a constellation of complementary moral
values that guide how reciprocities should be organized.

Psychological Concepts

As for conceptualizing the padrino system, there are two major complementary
pillars in the padrino system. First is the notion of gratitude and second is the notion
of revenge. A ‘debt of gratitude’ (utang na loòb) is the core of interpersonal ‘trust’
(tiwala), which obliges the person to return a gift or a favor after
receipt.Consequently, not appreciating an exchange on the party’s debt of gratitude is
considered a disgraceful act. Hence, the concept of gratitude functions as a moral
basis for long-term relationship development. However, an important inquiry must be
pondered when the principle of debt of gratitude was violated, thus the notion of
revenge (ganti) elates and sanctions behavior that is considered ungrateful (walang
utang na loòb). For instance, in a case of negative reciprocity (Sahlins, 1972, p. 195),
the padrino system also provides moral guidelines to sanction impersonal exchanges.
This explanation can be accounted on why the padrino system is a pervasive practice
that it became a norm in our society for this kind of scheme requires reciprocity.

On the other hand, there are also three features of the padrino system that are
important to draw some of our attention. First, the padrino system heavily influenced
by individual’s personal interests. Thus, accompanied by the hierarchical structure
between the patrons and clients, both groups seek their own interests. Secondly, it is a
system that is based on honor with regard with the patron and clients’ frequency and
depth of interactions. Hence, in the cognitive sense, the closer an individual to the
designated ego-self within his circular orbited network (connections or constituents),
the more prestige or honor is experienced by an individual. For example, if the ego-
self is a famous individual, the amount of prestige or honor would increase
accordingly. In short, the padrino system is an honor system in which the interacting
actors within the social network can satisfy their collective self-esteem, amor propio –
“an emotional high-tension wire that girds the individual’s dearest self, protecting
from disparagement or question the qualities he most jealously guards as his own best
claim to others’ respect and esteem” (Lynch, 1970). One’s sensitivity to the norms
towards good behavior that preserve one’s acceptability among others and sensitivity
to personal discourtesy through preventing embarrassment or shame (hiya). Thirdly,
the padrino system holds an essential idea that social actors should able to carry out
in order to maintain the Filipino ideal type of social acceptance: smooth-
interpersonal-relations (SIR). Accordingly, SIR is constituted by (1) pakikisama, it
means ‘sympathetic companionship’, ”giving in” and “yielding to the will of the
leader or majority so as to make the group decision unanimous” (Lynch, 1970). (2)
The practice of using expression in language marks a trait of the Filipinos to cushion
the feelings of the person affected. (3) Use of “go-betweens” as a way of preserving
and restoring smooth interpersonal relations by avoiding loss of face or shame (hiya)
and to remedy an existing state of conflict and tension by sensitively replacing shame,
embarrassment, affront, and uncomfortable feelings with honor (puri) (Lynch, 1970).

In addition, another theory that would also explain the existence of the padrino
system is the Social Identity Theory which begins with the idea that individuals define
their own identities with regard to social groups and that such identifications work to
protect and bolster self-identity (Izlam, 2014). Hence, social identity bred the
discrimination for a certain group would tend to inflate positive qualities and view the
out-group negatively. As a result, conflict will arise, for in the aspect in the Philippine
government, the person in “power” who possesses a strong network of connection
would likely choose people who hold qualities similar with his and tend to devalue
other people’s capacity. In relation to the padrino system, since this is a method of
favoring one group (a family member, close friend, person na pinagkautangan ng
loob) hence the person would choose the individual whom he has knowledge about
and where close connection has been initially built. Therefore, conflict may arise as
well for proper implementation of organizational system is being disrupted because of
the person’s personal interest.

In the time where padrino system is prevalent, Philippine government also finds
its way to combat such discrimination. It was the time of the late Sen. Miriam
Defensor-Santiago filed a bill in an effort to get rid of the “Padrino System”
prevailing most government offices. The “Anti-Political Recommendations Bill” aims
to prevent legislators from endorsing any individual to any government position (Dee,
2013). Also, took a contributory step to help in discouraging nepotism
in the government and has partnered with around 50 state agencies to provide a
landing page that exclusively features employment opportunities available in the
public sector (Abad, 2017). In addition, Chanco (2016) noted that government
agencies utilize technology for recruitment of staff to address the issue on padrino
system, five more government agencies signed a job-matching MOA with Kalibrr, a
local tech start-up, to harness technology for government recruitment. They have
received 38,000 applications for 3,800 job vacancies since May 2015, making
government job vacancies more than 10 times oversubscribed. According to Maria
Luisa Salonga Agamata of the CSC, the implementation to incorporate technology
into the recruitment process intends to make the procedure of pooling of applicants
more efficient. Also, tt mainly seeks to observe the constitutional law of merit and
fitness with regard to appointments and other HR actions in the civil service (Chanco,
2016). Through this constitutional and technological initiation, these can address the
problem on padrino system which is discrimination and favoritism.


On the other hand, as a practitioner in the field of Psychology, I can best respond
to this kind of issue through maintaining and upholding the desired standard that the
organization has and diligently follow it to eliminate the possible favoritism. Since,
most of the I/O seminar workshops only tackles leadership, conflict resolution,
decision making, implementation of seminars that deals with controversial issues
inside the organization such as favoritism, honesty, justice system in the I/O field is
also beneficial for the Human Resource Department is the heart of an organization,
hence it addresses concerns that hampers the functionality of a company. Hence, it is
important for the Managerial Employees to understand first the underlying value and
consequences in every unjust and unfair practices that is happening inside the
organization for they are the important actors that will facilitate the progress or
direction of the group.

As a whole, there are still other important matters that needs to have an attention
when it comes with the Government aside from the aforementioned social issues. As
Filipinos, a change in our Government can happen if we select the most honorable,
dignified and faithful government servant to change the processes in our City or
Country. For now, we should not always be receptive and brand things as “normal”
that are happening around us, be aware and be prepared in doing what is right and


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