• Next president as political messiah a pipedream

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    The conventional wisdom is that changing the tenant by the Pasig a couple of years from now will automatically produce a revolutionary if not reformist governance that can right all wrongs and shortcomings that now plague the nation. The idea that a maestro, by waving a magic wand, so to speak, can produce a miracle of good governance and development is at best quixotic.

    If we believed the mantras proclaimed by previous occupants of the Palace hot seat, this nation should have already catapulted into the ranks of developed economies.

    The problem is that development is teamwork. Like soccer and basketball teams, the captain ball or star players cannot win games by themselves. The Lakers could not win the NBA relying solely on Kobe and the Argentine team lost to the Germans even with Messi leading the attack.

    Governance is like a tripod resting on three legs—the executive, legislative and judiciary. Any weakness in any of the legs will tilt the balance and cause the occupant to fall. But this are only structures of governance that requires a vision of development. In liberal democracies this vision or program is provided by political parties. Their visions vary depending on what side of the political spectrum they belong.

    In a country bereft of competitive political parties, ruling administrations just react to conditions and improvise as best they can. If the administration is slow in spending, “disbursement acceleration program” funds are invented and an orgy of spending is embarked on with dubious results.

    Most countries adopt full employment programs so that no one is economically left behind. In this country a full quarter of the population is unemployed or underemployed. The band aid remedy is “conditional cash transfers.” Giving them fish today instead of making them fishermen creates a culture of dependence.

    The culture of dependence is perpetuated by an overly centralized administration creating an imperial Manila based in Malacaòang. This prevents the development of the rural areas where you have a concentration of the unemployed and its accompanying poverty. Filipinos cannot seem to get rid of the messianic mentality—still hoping for a political messiah to redeem them from underdevelopment. Accordingly they create and surround a popular figure that the politically entrenched economic elite can control and foist him on the masses, whom the current president calls his “boss.”

    In our country with a strong presidency—a legacy of that consummate politician Manuel L. Quezon—the longest reigning president we have had, competitive political parties cannot thrive. What happens is the politics of opportunism creates political chameleons that suck whatever bounties can be dispensed by the “capo di cappi tutti” or the godfather in the Palace.

    Today we are again dreaming of a benevolent dictator when we should be concentrating in the strengthening of a representative government that makes governance participatory. To think that a mere freedom of information law will automatically restore honesty and transparency is wishful thinking. The best check and balance is a competitive party system with strong and viable opposition parties that can oversee administrations.

    In the meantime pork through political transubstantiation will morph into beef as astute members of Congress, in a desperate act of political survival, will again load the general appropriations act with lump sums—the better to cut up into choice cuts that will end up in their larder mostly even if they allow some crumbs to fall off their rich tables for the benefit of their constituents. Sadly a constituency fed on a pork diet will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the protestations of the middle class for fiscal reforms. Masa approval of the dole-out system will surely override the pious protestations of the urbanites not dependent on “cash transfers.”

    In the absence of an adequate social security system – the office of the legislators have become transformed into a quasi-SSS whose administrators receive even greater benefits than the beneficiaries!

    To start with, the broadsheets should devote less space to Malacaòang reporters and focus on other institutions of government and report on the work of line agencies and rural agencies.

    Lastly, let us now and finally implement the much awaited devolution and decentralization of the government apparatus. Who knows—with fiscal autonomy and a bottom-up approach to budgeting, the pork will finally melt and this nation’s bad cholesterol levels will drastically drop.

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    4 Comments

    1. We have tried a top notch lawyer in F. Marcos and was a good leader for a while but power like an opium addicted him to declare martial law, a housewife who returned democracy as an offshoot of a much vaunted people’s power and toppled the conjugal dictatorship, a general who tried to propel the country back into economic recovery after the world economic fallout of the 90’s, the return of a prodigal son in Asiong Salonga whose tenue was shortlived since that little bitch professor of Gov. Salceda had masterminded a coup planned by his putsches night of generals in the guise of the second people’s power which she squandered in 9 long years after the “Hello Garci” concocted presidential victory in 2004? An accidental president came to power in 2010 but as amisguided destiny of a man who wanted to change things with his Mauwid na Daan mantra which slowly but surely is changing the once perceived corrupt panorama of govt. services when inadvertently the PDAF scam was exposed as the source of Mammon of the legislatures but is also was tainted when the DAP was also found unconstituional by SC. Now you tell us who is worth the salt of occupying the snake pit on a palace by the river of Babylon? As Sen. Miriam Defensor has defended wih her harangue that another woman should be the next president, we have to minutely follow the rise of a neophyte lady senator in the person of Grace Poe, a releuctant candidate for the presidency but destiny will propel her to be the next leader of this benighted land. Whether we like it or not, the clamor of the business sectors, the youth , the OFW’s, the downtrodden will gravitate to this feisty lady senator who will lead our country into the next decade of political stability and economic bonanza.

    2. But, Ambassador Romero, I have not read anyone of any weight, light or heavy, in The Manila Times or any Philippine newspaper, write that the next president will be a political messiah. In fact, the worry of everyone is that the next president will be Mr. Aquino again or his and the Liberal Party’s candidate–thanks to the Comelec’s Satanic Smartmatic/PCOS machines that will be programmed to deliver the results they want.
      Why not use your writing time to support the move against the PCOS machines? With them Philippine elections will always be fraudulent and the precinct count unverifiable and dictated by the Comelec and Smartmatic.

      • only congress can amend the law mandating automation of elections. will they move their collective butts? no can do coz they, specifically most of the LPs were beneficiaries of this hocos pcos machines of white hair. so many columnists and opinion writers together with concerned organizations have said over and over again and even filed complaints with the comelec but comelec simply dismissess these complaints. comelec as per what i have read disregarded safeguards in the law

    3. These elected officials of this country once headed the Government they will tie the end of the tail and pull it off to their own interest a devise that. Loopholes thrive and failures sits in. We are govern by greedy men not by patriotism or by integrity. Look at all our successful neighbors. Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan. Do they have one in common they are govern by good and public servant people not by crook and kickback money making politicians. Our politicians are crooked, pirates and great pretenders.