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Doomed Democracy

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Doomed Democracy
Ronald Roy — Nov. 20, 2014

As a pro bono activist columnist over the past ten years, I’ve always found an indispensable need to interact with my readers on almost any of passing political events. Still of current major interest is the never-ending senate investigation of graft practices allegedly committed by VP Jejomar Binay when he was Makati City’s Mayor, the senate’s disinterest in kickbacks allegedly received by its president, Franklin Drilon, from the construction of Iloilo’s international airport and convention center, and the 2016 presidential derby, along with its wannabes and dreamers. Hereunder are snippets of such interaction.
Sir, is it true that even a farmer or cab driver can be President of the Philippines? Yes, Narding (Reyes), and that is one very democratic feature of our Constitution. Anybody who has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications can run for president. I think Abraham Lincoln never even finished high school, and yet he is remembered as one of America’s greatest presidents. He had the mind, the heart, and the soul that were needed to solve the conundrums of his time, particularly those anent racial issues; and how gloriously he succeeded!
“Honest Abe” was what he was called, and we stress the trait of honesty because its lack is alarmingly pervasive in today’s public service. He also had the kind of courage needed to try to convince a white society to free black people from enslavement — a crusade that unfortunately led to his assassination. Nobody knows of course if Lincoln would have gladly died for his pro-black advocacy; but it should impel us to ask if our presidential candidates would be willing to die for their country.
What?? But that’s unfair, sir! Not really, Narding. The national anthem’s most uplifting part reaches its poignant climax with the lyrical phrase ang mamatay ng dahil sa’yo (to die for you). Consider too that if an enlisted man is willing to die fighting for his country, it follows that his commander-in-chief should be willing to do the same. The anthem must be sung fervently, each word and phrase understood and meant. All Filipinos must sing it with a surging passion of love of country, as if he were in some battlefield prepared to shed his blood for the motherland.
Do you think Pres. Aquino sings it with that kind of ardor? Bwahahay…I wish I knew! But this is no small talk, Narding. All government officials and employees, elected, appointed or hired, should commit themselves to the public service on a level associated with heroes and martyrs. The service has rapidly deteriorated because of worsening conditions of graft, and it behooves them, beginning with no less than the president, to arrest this moral decline.
The 2016 president will have his hands full doing this. He must do away with cronyism and nepotism. He must stop the practice of controlling both legislative chambers, leave the solons alone with their work, deny them inappropriate favors, and expect enmity from those whom he has displeased. The enemies he has thus created will despise him and will even plot his downfall, if not — heaven forbid — his assassination!
But this is what a strong democracy is all about, Luchie (Cabral): selflessness, love of country, and the burning zeal to offer one’s life for his countrymen. No one can blame you for being extremely skeptical about any one aspiring for a public office, especially where he bags the office after spending an enormous sum of campaign money that is beyond his means; for, he will surely steal from the public coffers to pay back these monetary contributions.
I have long batted for a law banning all candidates from spending for their campaigns, and making it government’s obligation instead to defray its own funds for the purpose, keeping in mind their equitable apportionment among the contenders. But I guess it is a case of “hoping against hope”, because legislators will never enact a law that will militate against their built-in advantages — alas, an obvious infirmity in our electoral system!
Oh yes, Luchie, you have a point: These resident COA auditors cannot be trusted. They have to be watched or monitored, one way or another. It is with them where graft commences in practically all cases. And as for your last point, I agree that reformation is a joint enterprise between public servants and the citizens. Yes, our people will have to learn soonest to choose their candidates wisely, and to resist the temptation of selling their votes.
Failing at this, they will slowly lose their democracy, as surely as P-Noy is losing his hair.


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