MARTIAL law or God’s, man can implement. But only a godly man will implement God’s law. Terrorism of any form must be ended according to God’s law. This paper is about the value of role models in pushing for a righteous governance. A righteous leadership can easily generate trust among the people.
I like PRRD’s political will, save for his uncouth ways. “I am also uncouth,” said a seasoned, renowned professional. “Don’t say that! You are a highly respectable man,” I said. That’s how dangerous we are becoming. Some decent people take pride in identifying with the ways of the uncouth. Our hedge for protection as a decent country has been breached. A year after the election, people are already starting to talk about impeachment.
Filipinos, desperate and impatient, are in a hurry for real change. With reckless abandon, an uncouth President was elected, in the hope of reversing the failures of the past to effect real change. Even some of the “religious” exult in Duterte’s uncouth style of leadership. He is “courageous and decisive, the best President ever anointed”. His approval and trust ratings remain high. This is false idolatry, a “divine trap”.
The President, our oldest at 72, has been branded as a psychopath. A professional psychologist considers him narcissistic. This early, we see the emergence of a new state problem—that of integrity and credibility in his leadership. The good part we are seeing is the growing irrelevance of traditional, dominant political parties.
The reform approach started by President Marcos in order to dissolve the traditional power structures in the country turned out to be tyrannical. It ended with the People Power Revolt that restored democracy, led by President Cory, now considered the icon of Philippine democracy. Sadly, this turned out to be a restoration of the traditional patronage system. Heroic reforms by President Ramos to reignite the economy remain tainted with corruption. So, with GMA’s who was placed under hospital arrest for plunder, but released recently. PNoy won the presidency on his campaign mantra: “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” His honesty was not enough to cleanse government of the corrupt. Duterte’s leadership style is seen as a serious threat to democracy. Corruption, political dynasties, patronage politics, worsening values, apathy for the poor and endemic poverty persist.
This continuing series of sad experiences clearly brought out a serious flaw in our existing systems and constitution—a rich breeding ground for bad governance.
The late Raul Manglapus was one of the leading political figures in the 1960s. Having been elected to the Senate at 42, he was a fresh face in politics. His presidential campaign sorties gave him a platform to develop and expound his ideas on Christian Democracy. One indelible idea was the elimination of patronage politics. This resonated with young political activists, but was no match for the political pull of Marcos. Manglapus followed through his failed presidential bid by founding the Christian Socialist Movement. This initiative was followed by the creation of the Centrist Democratic Movement Federation of the Philippines (CDMFP) in 2010. The vision was to see the country’s citizens live in dignity and have the opportunity to participate actively in the democratic process.
CDMFP sought a partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) considered at the time as a highly successful German Christian Democratic Union. They wanted to pursue closely a philosophy KAS has championed all over the world—Christian Democracy and Good Governance. A few years after, the movement metamorphosed into a Christian Democratic Party (CDP), accredited by the Comelec in September 2012.
In 2016, the Pilipino Movement for Transformational Leadership (PMTL) was launched a few months before the national elections. They drew up a people’s choice process and claimed support from a long list of member-Christian organizations. They drew up as well the Gabay ni Kristo Reform Agenda, short-listing the top 10 people recommended for the people’s choice of leadership positions. Prior to this, we saw a handful of Christian leaders, the Kapatiran Party, participating in the national elections. All these initiatives failed to bring real change. Why?
1. The charisma of a leader is not enough to sustain a successful and noble campaign.
2. Their vision lacked a clear identity to define its core values that would navigate its conduct in governing the affairs of the nation. With no clear vision and allied core values, the campaign failed.
3.They failed to build a community, large enough to rally the people to a united cause.
4. They failed to generate the mass-based support to be voted for national positions.
The search for a superior alternative to the worsening order must step up.
We need role models to generate enormous improvements to effect real change. For this to happen, we need an all-inclusive, non-partisan movement, Christian in spirit that can serve as the catalyst for the continuing education and transformation of a people lost in crucial times of selecting leaders of integrity. By this, I mean the revolutionary change of character and values in the Filipino—not by human values that have corrupted our society, but by the universal values governed by God’s law. This will be a powerful testament to show that Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., can live as one in a peaceful, progressive co-existence.
The English writer GK Chesterton said: “The Christian Ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
The faith and multi-culture of the Filipino, Christian in spirit, when lived out, will make martial law uncalled for. Nothing can ever be superior than God’s law.
The author is co-founder and president of Serving Humanity through Empowerment and Development, Inc. (SHED). His advocacy is to see a nation transformed to make possible the ambitious dream of ending poverty and all forms of abuse.