The nation needs an Integrity Coalition for 2016


First, let’s get real.

The looming line-up of presidential candidates in 2016, whether administration or not, do not inspire hope for good governance.

The dominant Liberal Party and its coalition partners will undoubtedly back a standard bearer who will protect grafters under this regime, especially those who perpetrated, abetted or gained from the five-fold leap in smuggling, trebled pork barrel, the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and a host of dubious deals like the Metro Rail Transit and Tarlac roadworks contracts.

The opposition leadership, sadly, has its own figures with corrupt reputations, if not graft convictions. Like then presidentiable Benigno Aquino 3rd, his camp’s rivals will promise to clean up, punish and stop sleaze. But given the enormity of anomalies Aquino ushered in — P200 billion lost to contraband by his own count, over P20 billion a year in pork barrel, the P150-billion DAP, among others, plus bribing Congress, browbeating the Supreme Court, and policitizing constitutional bodies — it is hard, if not foolhardy to believe other big-name politicos promising reform.

No, Filipinos should never again put our trust in the political establishment. Certainly not the leaders and dynasties who have won election after election by amassing illicit wealth to bankroll media campaigns and grassroots machinery. The great majority of our next leaders should come from the ranks of clean, conscientious, caring and qualified citizens.

Yeah right, many a jaded political watcher would smirk. Much as the nation may wish good guys to rule, they in fact finish last in every election, simply because they don’t have the cash, connections, and compromises so effective in getting votes. So many advocates of change in leadership and administration are lining up behind politicians with records and reputations not unlike the sleazeballs to be booted out.

In addition, segments of the administration are doing what they always do when political winds look like shifting: quietly get ready to swing to the winning side. So seasoned observers would not be surprised if local administration bigwigs are secretly making deals with Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s camp not to support moves against him in exchange for his protection if and when he comes to power.

Doubts about another EDSA
In sum, politics as usual, with its unprincipled alliances of convenience, multibillion-peso election campaigns, and since 2010, computerized cheating sans safeguards of any kind, will not advance good governance in the Philippines. So what are integrity-loving Filipinos to do?

The National Transformation Council, which includes Cardinal Ricardo Vidal and other leading figures of religion and integrity, urges nothing less than a recasting of Philippine democracy by a caretaker government taking over from the Aquino administration and amending the Constitution.

While many may agree with NTC’s call for regime change, a good number also doubt if it will garner enough mass support to advance its goal. For one thing, three out of four Filipinos are satisfied with how Philippine democracy is working, according to a Social Weather Stations survey in July 2013. Even with the pork barrel and DAP scandals, most citizens probably still feel constitutional institutions and processes are effective.

Others may wonder if a third uprising would be good for the country. They fear another EDSA would destroy hard-won investor confidence and economic resurgence after seven years of being among the region’s growth leaders, expanding even during the 2008-09 global recession. And with elections less than two years away, most of the public may prefer to just wait, as they did in the final years of the Arroyo government.

Bottom line: If there is limited support for regime change before 2016, good governance advocates need a Plan B that includes contesting the next polls, while avoiding alliances with traditional politicians. Can such a strategy work? Yes it can, if the leading individuals and institutions of good governance, morality and spirituality can join forces in selecting, publicizing and, during elections, endorsing candidates of proven integity, competence, and commitment to public service.

Can upright candidates win in 2016?
Imagine a nationwide coalition including major religions, independent civil society, and community organizations compiling a list of upright individuals for national and local positions from President down. The coalition’s seal of good governance, if widely publicized in parishes nationwide, can counter the moneyed media and political clout wielded by entrenched politicians.

For 2016, the integrity list can focus on upright, competent people for 26 national, 230-plus congressional, 81 gubernatorial and 35 independent city mayoral posts — fewer than 400 candidates. To avoid splitting the integrity vote, the coalition must endorse only one candidate per position. Those unwilling to yield to its choice should not get its vote.

Will Filipinos vote for the coalition’s lineup, backed by leading religions and civil society? The yearly Philippine Trust Index surveys show that the public trust religious leaders the most, with three out of every four citizens having confidence in Church leaders. Moreover, Social Weather Stations found in early 2012 that religious groups wield positive endorsement value among 57 percent of voters. And people see integrity as the top criterion for trusting political leaders.

For sure, forming the integrity coalition and drawing up its lineup of upright leaders is immensely challenging.

Going up against the political elite’s guns, goons and gold is even tougher. And the fraud-ridden automated election system [Smartmatic-PCOS machines] must be junked, too, for honest candidates to have a chance.

Still, these odds are far better than trying to address misgovernance and corruption with the very schemers who created the mess. For real reform to happen, the forces of integrity must back upright candidates nationwide — or mount another EDSA.


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  1. Surely, we should have sufficient number of competent, honest, humble, and reputable persons who could run this country in a very professional manner. I suggest, the NTC develop a political party to run for all the elected positions in 2016. The chosen candidates should be properly screened and should not belong to any political dynasty. Then, together we can mobilize all religious organizations, student associations, professional groups, non-profit organizations, and as many barangay officials (not connected with political families), independent media organizations, youth organizations, OFWs, etc. to campaign for these candidates. Once the political organization is developed, we should rally together for political reforms (getting rid of PCOS). The NTC should lead and we will follow. Lets go.

  2. upright, give me a break. you might find one out of 80 million pops. in decades or more. install a candidate that was grown and brought up in USA i assure you you found an upright one.

    good luck to you people.

    my say – it is only in this present admin. that democracy is working compared to previous corrupt admin like marcosses, estrada’s, arroyo’s, name it

  3. victor m. hernandez on

    if one will have to start planning ang organizing now, we will have a discernible result in 10 years, and it should improve much faster in 15, and shall be much established in 25th year. One needs patience, perseverance, hard work, and faith in one’s vision for the country, and a lot of prayers. God bless us all.

  4. Shouldn’t the people behind this Integrity Council first give solid proof of their integrity? Or is this council going to stretch the already overstretched faith of the people some more by asking them to trust these nameless, faceless people? If thats the case, give me Stalin and Hitler anytime, at least I will know what I’m really dealing with.

  5. First acknowledge what are the truth and what are black propaganda, before the Filipinos can move forward. Otherwise the status quo are intrenched in the gutter.

  6. We have to be very careful in the next election. I have already ruled out anyone associated with the LP in anyway. Also ruled out are all sitting Senators and Congressmen who partook of the PDAF and/or DAP. It would be great if non-political organizations could publish a list of upright people.

  7. I think you are spot on with these current politicians, i dont know how but somehow they need to be rousted & completely fresh new faces who care more about their country than themselves. You need to speed up court cases & get these corrupt politicians into court convicted & jailed without parole or pardon from the then president. & when in jail in normal jails like you or i would have to go in. They all need to know there is a strong chance if corrupt they will be caught & jailed.
    Its off the track here but every time i see the faces of those 3 ampatuans from maguindanao i see hatred & brutality in their faces, i see nothing nice, honourable or in anyway good about them. They have the sort of same look that i see when i look at charles manson from america, its not nice & we all know they rued with a fist of iron, do my will or die, thats what they all knew. Sio its in every form of political power where we need to control & scrutinise very very carefully.

  8. i agree with you mr saludo that the ntc convenors agree to support one candidate who would pass the criteria of what should an elected official should be. we did it before with the person of cory (kaya lang hindi yata sya dapat ang choice kasi capture sya ng mga oligarchs as proven after) to topple makoy. we won the actual elections but lost in the counting. as long as the hocos pcos is around and used by 6to, tagilid ang bayan.

  9. P. on

    The Ntional Transformation Council should enlist the support of the various non-governmental organizations like the students’ group, teachers’ group bar association chapters, religious groups, OFWs, Fil-Ams and other overseas Filipino grups. Also, there should be a continuous campaign against corruption , KKKs, and exposure of anomalies in the government..

  10. Sonny Dela Cruz on

    I believe the NTC should start drafting the Federal constitution for the Philippines and publish it to let the Filipino people understand the changes for a better governance. Right now, the Liberal party Presidential standard bearer will surely wins without any doubt because they have the money and the power to win the election. There will be no changes in the manner the government works if the present Unicameral system of government will stay on. Those people who declare their intention to run for President are all tainted with corruptions and bad elements and with the present system of government, they are more qualified. The Filipino people should not expect a better Philippines comes 2016.