Friday, May 04, 2007

Deadly Philippine politics

i was reading the inquirer online and two of the breaking news are failed assassination attempts on political candidates. why is it so important to be in political power for some people that they're willing to literally eliminate the competition?

i don't get it! where is democracy? maybe i'm deluded and have an idealistic picture of philippine politics. but i'm just hoping that it will stop. that political killings will stop. that extrajudicial killings would stop. that dissent be tolerated. and maybe people would learn to let go of their positions when their time is up.

some want political offices because they want the opportunities for corruption built-in to it. some just like power. others really want to make a difference but are strangled by a rigid and corrupt environment. it seems like a vicious cycle.

miriam defensor who claims to have won the 1992 elections was made to look crazy for doing so. the opposition is painted in bad light when it doesn't suit the powers that be. i saw her on tfc the other day and she was being interviewed about pork barrel and how political office becomes a lucrative campaign fund-raising mechanism or just simply a source of corruption if the politician is not honest enough. she explained the allowances of the representatives and the ways that they can rechannel money into their pockets, i.e. cutting operational costs by hiring less staff.

it's interesting how philippine politics has become a mere popularity contest with actors running in the race for senators. i have nothing against actors but at least they should have some experience. cesar montano was in a debate with another senatorial hopeful and he was asked by the moderator what experience he had that qualified him to run for office. he said and i'm paraphrasing "we actors when we play poor roles, go to the impoverished places and see the poverty there". i don't count that as qualifying experience to run for office. a lot of politicians have gone to the slums but nothing has changed. internalizing your role as an actor does not make for a good politician. would it mean that he's just "acting" as a senator?

in the senate, we need people of substance. people that can really make a difference and are not afraid to make a stand on what they believe in. what is this "plant pichay in the senate". i don't know how far you can get with a campaign like that except for a laugh in the face with the play on words for a vegetable to be planted in the senate. i hardly find it funny. whoever came up with that campaign will surely make pichay the laughingstock of the senate.

i feel such frustration but i remain hopeful. some day, there will be people that will set aside their own agendas for the betterment of the philippines. the partylist system was supposed to empower the marginalized sectors of society. it has become another avenue of political dynasties with politicians creating their own partylists to ensure that they remain in power. it might not be at the forefront but surely they are the puppet masters in the background.

i hope the political killings will stop. i hope that there will be a fraud-free election. i hope many things for the philippines. some day, i know it will come true. i believe there is hope and we can all work towards that ideal.

God bless the Philippines.