MANILA, JUNE 13, 2006 (STAR) (‘Could one imagine where we would be now if the Senate was “united” with Gloria? We would have the peace of the grave and the prosperity of a looted treasury.’)

When politicians talk about national unity, we automatically check whether we still have our wallet in our pocket. Great crimes have been committed in the name of national unity. One of these days we might just return to classical liberalism and praise pursuit of personal interest as the genuine path to human progress and prosperity.

Remember Marcos’ New Society? It sought to uplift this poverty-stricken country by its bootstraps by subsuming personal, sectoral and class interests under the singular national purpose of rapidly developing the economy. Complementary myths (the eden of pre-Spanish barangay) and ideology (revolution from the center) were erected to justify the authoritarian rule that purportedly was necessary to smash the oligarchic structures that stood in the way of national development.

The result was indeed unity in suffering among the great masses of the people, while the dictatorship and its cronies stole everything in sight.

Yesterday at the Independence Day celebrations, Gloria Arroyo was again tiresomely calling for national unity. The enemies are the divisive politicians and the destabilizers. She tagged them as the roadblocks to the march to the Enchanted Kingdom of First World status within a generation. She wants to overhaul the political system, which she has tagged as dysfunctional, through charter reforms.

But before we talk about whether a given political system promotes or retards a nation’s progress, let us point to actual cases involving specific actions.

Let us take the "obstructionism" of the Senate which is being used to justify a shift to a unicameral parliament. How was Senate "obstructionism" expressed? The Senate persisted in investigating the role of the military in the "Hello Garci" scandal. It looked into the use of the fertilizer fund to buy electoral support for Arroyo. It opposed calibrated preemptive response, EO 464 and Proclamation 1017, all three of which have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

"Obstructionism" in these cases served either to expose the lying and cheating of the Arroyo administration or to protect the rights and liberties of the people and democratic processes. If this is obstructionism, then let’s have more of it.

Could one imagine where we would be now if the Senate was "united" with Gloria? We would have the peace of the grave and the prosperity of a looted treasury.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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