OPINION:  CANDIDATES  OF  THE  STATUS  QUO

MANILA, OCTOBER 31, 2009
(STAR) A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) By Jose C. Sison - The 2010 election is most crucial to this nation. People are looking forward to it as their last chance to bring about the much needed changes in politics and governance denied them all these years by a succession of leaders who have managed to exploit the people’s gullibility, or to manipulate the results of the voting in order to perpetrate their reign of immoderate greed and unbridled corruption.

A step generally perceived to be significant in quenching the people’s thirst for change is the poll automation. But its overall effectiveness to determine the people’s true voice is not that certain because of the obviously inadequate technical savvy of the electoral body that oversees the machines’ operation which is still within the sphere of human intervention. Indeed at this early stage, certain errors have already been pointed out in the COMELEC Rules regarding the filing of the certificates of candidacy that may cause glitches in the automated elections. The probability that poll automation may even result in failure of election cannot therefore be totally discounted. If that happens and the peoples’ will is again frustrated, the probability also looms large that people may resort to more drastic steps in attaining those changes.

But a more unfortunate and dire consequence is that even if poll automation can ensure an honest to goodness election, the longed for changes are still unreachable because: (1) most voters are not properly educated in making the right choice. They just rely on name recall and popularity; and (2) even if they are properly educated, they still cannot make the right choice since none of the declared candidates espouse their desired changes.

Thus, the known aspirants for President or Vice President currently making formal announcements about their political plans for the 2010 elections have not generated any semblance of excitement among the electorate despite the drama and fanfare accompanying their moves. Indeed the ongoing developments in the political landscape are simply boring. They don’t light up any spark of hope for a bright future in this country. On the contrary, these developments forebode the continuance of the dark and decadent status quo instead of the realization of wholesome changes.

This status quo is represented first and foremost by DND Secretary Gilberto Teodoro as the administration candidate for President with Puno as his running mate. Their candidacy under the banner of the party in power headed by the incumbent President simply means a continuation of the present kind of governance extremely abhorred by people as undoubtedly manifested by the President’s excessively negative approval rating. Teodoro and Puno being the President’s alter ego represent everything that people want to change. People are stirred by their candidacy only because of the administration’s repeated claim that they will win the election despite their unimpressive and dubious public service records and dismal showing in the surveys. This claim has indeed aroused peoples’ apprehension that the administration is out to remain in power by hook or by crook; that it will utilize its vaunted machinery and bottomless resources for this purpose. This fear is heightened by the recent withdrawal of Vice Presidential candidate Puno which is seen by many as a move to enhance the administration’s candidates’ chances of winning not by replacing Puno with a more “winnable” running mate but by utilizing his full time services as a shrewd operator in “winning” elections. Based on the peoples’ prevailing mood however Teodoro, who would like to be called Gibo for greater name recall may end up bigo in his quest for power.

Loren Legarda’s recent announcement as Vice Presidential candidate is equally unexciting. It may have landed in the headlines because she wrapped it with curiosity by not naming yet her Presidential running mate and the party of her choice. Obviously this is just another gimmick to remain in the limelight similar to that employed by her erstwhile presumed running mate Francis Escudero who already announced that he is definitely running without however confirming that it is for the presidency as he had openly intimated several times in the past. Whether they end up together again their tandem cannot simply be identified with “change” that the voters are looking for. They will just bring back the heydays of the oligarchs and cronies of the Marcos regime who are the moving spirit behind the NPC under which they are running. Legarda’s stance is even more disappointing as it betrays her opportunism or lack of firm commitment and her politics without principles typical of the present day trapos in our midst. The public perception is that she has opened herself to the importunings or enticements of the other trapo presidential bets, particularly Villar who is having a hard time getting a running mate.

On the other hand, Estrada and Binay as expected gathered and used the poor by holding their proclamation in the very seat of poverty in Tondo Manila. The huge amount of money flowing that day in gathering the crowd and publicizing their formal entry into the presidential and vice presidential race is in stark contrast to the lifestyle of the mahihirap whose votes they try to garner by preying on their ignorance and taking advantage of their mendicant attitude. They certainly do not represent the change in politics and governance that people want. Erap has even given problems to the smooth and proper implementation of the first ever automated election in this country because it will still take time before the SC can finally rule that he cannot run again for the Presidency. He may be unknowingly or knowingly contributing to the failure of elections in 2010.

More unfortunate in all these developments is that except for a few, the candidates in the local level seem to be emulating the same kind of politics without principles that the aspirants for the national positions are practicing. Posters promoting their intended candidacies are sprouting like mushrooms even before they file the certificates of candidacy or before the start of the campaign period. At this stage, the future still looks bleak for our country with all those candidates for the status quo frustrating the peoples’ desire for change.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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