“For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible” –St. Francis of Assisi
OBVIOUSLY, this quotation is for true believers or non-believers. But in a certain sense, non-believers are true believers in their principles, values or conscience. This quotation from St. Francis, however, refers to belief in the existence of a Divine Being or God. So the non-believers referred to are atheists or agnostics.
But this column for today will not discuss belief in the religious sense. It will argue on my unchanging belief at this point in time that elections are a superfluity if we speak of our country and our people. So like St. Francis of Assisi and Eric Hoffer, as a true believer in our people and our country, I offer the view that we should not hold elections in May 2016.
Let’s think and be rational. What do the people of this country get with holding elections? More stupidity, more ignorance, more irresponsibility and criminality! Why?
Election is a democratic instrument to give the people an opportunity to choose their leaders who can serve them and the country to the best of their ability and within the context of the Lincolnian tradition that a democracy is a “government of the people, for the people and by the people.”
Election in a democracy works under certain basic assumptions.
First, the candidate must have the necessary qualifications and none of the disqualifications to be elected. Our problem is that the qualifications to be a candidate for any office in this country is at the barest minimum – age, residence, citizenship, being registered as a voter and ability to read and write. Under these standards, any fool can run for public office as many fools have done before. The requirement to be a policeman or an office clerk is even higher because he must, at least, have a college degree and must pass a pycho-neuro test.
Second, the candidate must know the functions of the office and his duties, the moment he gets elected. Third, other than these, he must know that public office is a public trust and that he is committed to serve the people and the country. Fourth, he must not buy votes, cheat, misrepresent, and he must not violate the election and other pertinent laws in his drive to be elected.
Question: How many politicians observe these standards? In my experience and study of elections in this country, you would stumble on a miracle if ten percent, in a scale of one to one hundred, observed these standards. It simply means that only an overwhelming minority can qualify to be candidates in a constitutional democracy like ours.
We now go to the voters. What are their qualifications? First, he must be a registered voter with six months in the place where he votes. In the olden days, he must know how to read and write. But thanks to Raul Manglapus when he was senator, he succeeded in amending our electoral laws to allow the blind and the illiterate to vote. In theory, the good senator was correct. In practice, he did not know what he was doing.
Second, the voter must not sell his vote nor allow anyone to influence him or threaten him to vote for candidates not of his choosing. Third, the voter must know the qualifications of the candidates he is voting for — first and foremost in his mind the national interests.
With these qualifications of candidates and voters in theory and in law, and comparing them with the way candidates and voters behave in the course of the elections, the obvious and inevitable conclusion is that elections in this country up to this moment is useless in finding candidates and voters who satisfy these standards.
So why hold elections when they are criminal activities in practice? Throw in the Comelec people, some or many of whom sell elections to candidates and sell proclamations as well. We know all these, yet we allow the criminal activities to continue. Are we a criminal country? The candidates who make a lot of promises to the voters during the campaign period have convinced themselves that all these practices are in the natural course of things. The thinking of the voters is no different.
Must we insist to be criminals or are we going to reform and change for the better? The choice is yours and mine. Well, I have made my choice. I have decided to launch a call for the organization of a National Coalition for the establishment of a Constitutional Transaction Government based on two provisions of the Constitution – sections 1 and 3 of Article II of the current Philippine Constitution.
What do these provisions state? Section 1 of Article II states that – “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” Section 3, Article II provides that- “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.”
The question arises: Who can declare and create a constitutional transition government? Under sections 1 and 3 of Article II of the Constitution, the President of the Philippines as head of government and State, and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines can organize and declare a Constitutional Transition Government. If the President fails to do it, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) can organize it and declare its existence, the military being the protector of the people and State under section 3, Article of the Constitution. Should the CSAFP fails to do it any group in the AFP can do it. Should the President and the AFP fail to do it, the people under section 1, Article II of the Constitution can do it.
What are the conditions for the declaration and organization of a Constitutional Transition Government? The following are the conditions: 1)When the government fails to achieve what the Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And 2) That -“governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the governed.”
Do these conditions exist in the Philippines today? They do and have been in existence here for quite a long time. In the telling words of those who understand the nature of social and political upheavals, the objective and subjective conditions are present. We are teetering at the edge of the precipice. The organization of a Constitutional Transition Government is designed to avert a political and social upheaval and to actively and intensely pursue the goals for our country and our people which have eluded them for so long.