Appearance and reality in Philippine politics

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WE are caught between appearance and reality many instances on this planet. Some contrasts are starker than others. Here we have the contrast with what our Constitution says which is that we are a democratic society with the rule of the majority in place, with laws to be followed, with justice for all no matter who and basic services for everyone. In fact, the Constitution says very clearly that we are all equal under the law with the same rights to choose our leaders by voting without coercion for those whom we select for which our votes will be counted correctly. But the reality is different. And it is a stark reality.

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We seem to be living in a feudal society where there is the equivalent of a monarchy, nobility, serfs. We have elections that are not quite what they are defined to be – free voting without coercion or intimidation, violence or chaos, without unconscionable bribes and false promises, ballots correctly counted and the will of the majority followed. Instead we have dynasties and fiefdoms supposedly elected freely. Every part of the country has a dynasty in place, fiefdoms going down through generations of one family in political power with the prospect of more generations of the same to come. Obviously, some here are more equal than others. These higher beings have first crack at the resources, monopolize the business activities, grab as much land as possible and see to it that their area of dominance is closed to everyone who wants to compete, particularly in the race for public office, business or even access to basic services. Political power facilitates these depredations.

In other words, with the rulers as feudal lords, we have a feudal society where a privileged few lord over the underprivileged. What else could it be with the shameless presence of dynasties, the oligarchy of vested business interests and the ability to break the law without incurring sanctions?

These happy few enjoy the basic services which they are rich enough to pay for with their lion’s share of income while those who are not in the lion class in society languish with poor education, inadequate health care, scarce economic opportunities, subhuman housing and transport conditions.

The Constitution promises equality but the reality is there is not only the normal inequality of character traits and talents that every human is heir to by nature but the man-made inequality of governance, social conditions and opportunities that the Constitution says we should be exempt from. Or, that should be the opposite of what is in place and which the Constitution as it is written should not accept or tolerate.

Thus, in the current play between appearance and reality that we are enduring we have feudal terms, feudal establishments and feudal behavior. Particularly, when we are called upon by the Constitution to fill leadership posts.

Note the word “anointing” which is a privilege only of the High One of the spiritual universe or the Ruling One of the feudal reality. It comes from the Bible where holy oil is poured on the head of the chosen leader (note chosen, not elected) and is therefore the last word in enthroning the individual as a ruler, king, prophet out of privilege with or without merit. In this day and age and with the feudalism running rampant, these leaders from the ruling class give themselves the offices. Only here they have republican titles like Congressman, Senator, President, Governor, Mayor, Councilor. These last are democratic terms but in this country they are in reality titles with feudal connotations that excludes any democratic real life aspirations.

What to do is the riddle that we have to solve. If elections were free and counted according to the way the ballots went, there would be a chance to get a philosopher king or a democratic leader or a servant leader that has the concern for all, the vision for equality as much as it can be realistic in everyday life. At the same time, those who vote should have the exposure, education, and the vision to adhere to the Constitution that our society has opted for, which only means that their sense of equality includes all not just their families, neighbors, friends, but enemies, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, everyone who lives in the country and therefore deserves equality. Every serious unselfish citizen can discern this idea if they pause to think about the appearance and the reality that we are stuck with but which we should eschew by being responsible, persevering and courageous. We should live the Constitution not make it a travesty.

It is time to rage and demand better. The time has come to reject feudalism and dynasty-building by creating and enforcing the laws that our Constitution demands so that we are compliant to it. The Constitution specifically has an anti-dynasty provision that should be implemented by a law passed by Congress with the implementing rules and regulations. One step to equality is passing the anti-dynasty law. Choose, campaign and elect those who believe in this and will move to implement it.

We must strive for an open society and welcome everyone who has the quality of leadership by virtue of vision, adherence to the Constitution and a track record of respecting it in their life. Leaders can come from all levels of society, not just one.

It is time to think big and to think right. Leaders to be chosen are not those who smile and shake our hands and give handouts, or those who we know as family, neighbors, entertainers, athletes or heirs of political dynasties without any other better credentials than that. Even those who call us by name are not necessarily the ones one should vote for. Flattery is prevalent at election time. These are not qualifications, they are chance circumstances that must give to those who will serve not themselves but their fellow men.

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3 Comments

  1. FILOMENO CASAUL on

    The corrupt Philippine officials should be executed by firing squad the same way the Philippine government did during the presidency of Marcos.
    I believed corruptions comitted by Philippine politicians are worse than the crime comitted by Lim Seng.

    I believed all young generation who will pursue a career in politics will think twice what will happen if they corrupt.

  2. Ramo Eamiguel on

    Totally agree. However, no President surrounded by powerful dynasts, will have the political will to pass an enabling law to enact the anti dynasty Law. The inability to pass the anti Dynasty and the FOI law are major failures of the present and previous administrations.

  3. Amnata Pundit on

    Money is the root of all evil, goes an old saying. Everything is yellow to the jaundiced eye, said Marcos in one of his last speeches before EDSA 1. These things that you say we should do today were supposed to have been done already after 30 years of the EDSA regime, what happened? The divergence between appearance and reality actually started with EDSA, thats what happened. We will never understand the present and therefore never correctly chart the future if we don’t see the past with clear eyes. If we can make hypocrisy a capital crime and make it effective retroactively to 1986 will it scare these crooks enough for them to straighten out? I doubt it because since EDSA 1 they have shown nothing but an insatiable appetite for money. THERE CAN BE NO REAL CHANGE AS LONG AS THE YELLOWS ARE IN POWER !