, NOVEMBER 11, 2007 (MALAYA) ‘On the contrary, elections – the honest and credible kind, that is – promote stability.’

Gloria Arroyo again got it wrong when she said she would not allow election instability to mar her last years in office. Elections do not cause instability. On the contrary, elections – the honest and credible kind, that is – promote stability.

Granted that elections generate so much passion, that itself is also the beauty of having a regular procedure by which to choose leaders. Elections are the safety valve that vent off the tension that accumulates in a society where members have differing and, at times, conflicting conceptions of what is good and just and how to attain them.

Gloria is again selling a fraudulent bill of goods in raising the bogey of instability. For what is the alternative to elections? Hereditary succession no longer fits modern times. There’s a good reason the French revolutionaries overthrew the monarchy two hundreds years ago. If we have forgotten the lesson, then just imagine Mikey and Dato as heirs presumptive to realize how lucky we are that we live in a democracy.

What else can we possibly adopt in lieu of genuine choices freely made inside the sanctity of the polling place? We are not saying our system is perfect. It isn’t, but not because there is something wrong in the principle of having elections. What ails the system are the rampant violations of election laws. And talking of election law breakers, Gloria is the least qualified to lecture us on how to ensure the credibility of the process.

We believe our politics, however rambunctious and at times violent, is immeasurably better than not having the right to throw out the bastards when elections come. That’s our basic difference with Gloria. Any leader, however honest and competent, can make mistakes. He is, after all, only human. Elections are the institutionalized mechanism by which society can correct mistaken goals, policies and programs.

Now, let us take the case of Gloria. It is possible that Gloria, by anchoring her programs on a purportedly strong economy, is leading us to ruination instead of her promised progress. Poverty and hunger, for example, are on the rise.

That’s the argument for giving elections more weight in our scale of political values. In this discussion we have even given Gloria the benefit of the doubt by drawing a Lee Kuan Yew type of leader to give her position some semblance of respectability.

The fact is she stole the elections. She and her pack are plundering the Treasury. They are exacting kickbacks from big ticket projects. They are demonizing elections, especially the ones scheduled in 2010, not because they have grand visions like Lee Kuan Yew.

The long and short of it is that they are thieves who dread the prospects, first, of an end to their thieving ways, and, second, of ending up in jail when a new – and, hopefully, legitimately elected – administration takes over a scant three years from now.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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