Philippine elections 2016: A chance for change (1)


First of two parts

Reader Hector has written me again and sent a long commentary on the 2016 elections and the challenges before the nation, apparently provoked by what I wrote last Thursday (“Grace Poe as alien-in-chief of the Philippines,” Times, Oct. 22, 2015).

As many readers and I have already noted, Hector wields a mean, erudite and incisive pen (or computer). He is often provocative, always in command of his facts, and critical of our national leaders. He feels assaulted by the extremes of inequality in Philippine society, where 1% of our 100 million population own 76 percent of the wealth, while 99% of the people have barely the necessities of life.

I presume he is Filipino because he cares deeply about what is happening to our country and the quality of governance today. But he could also be an expatriate who has resided in the country for years.

Hector’s commentary on the 2016 elections is too long to publish in one go, so I am splitting it into two parts.

Let his alarms about the national situation and his ideas for change help to open your eyes, as they did mine.

* * *

A political rubicon    

As smuggling reaches epidemic proportions, and with crime, kidnappings, and drugs becoming part of everyday life, something fundamental must change – and soon.

Aquino has allowed the country to become a den of iniquity, and bastion of inequality, with desperation and frustration seen throughout the land.

Someone must step up. But it will certainly not be traditional politicians – it must be individual voters who take responsibility and drive change through a collective effort, aided by a new breed of politicians unencumbered from nefarious affiliations, and who do not languish in the past.

As Noam Chomsky has written: “Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.”

Democracy in the Philippines is in the last chance saloon. 2016 will be a political rubicon and will determine whether the country steps back from the brink, or blindly falls headlong into the abyss with the accompanying issues of economic deprivation and social unrest.

A chance for change

Look beyond the PR headlines, and the warning signs are there – politically, economically, and socially.

Examine the figures, and the facts confirm the downward spiral.

The success of a country is not measured by the lifestyle and excesses of the 1%, or by attracting high end western labels in exclusive malls. It is measured by levels of poverty, by equal opportunity, and by human dignity.

The 2016 election is a chance for change, but only if people think smart, act rationally, and vote strategically; and also by making the Senate the battleground for transformation, and the key catalyst of change, rather than primarily just focusing upon the position of the president/vice-president, where in reality there will be little/no choice, and maybe not even the ability to influence the outcome, given the Smartmatic/PCOS/LP track record of subterfuge and vote-rigging in 2010 and 2013. Will people meekly accept this again in 2016?

In the Philippines it is not the voting which counts, but the counting of votes which counts!

Technology is a two edged sword, and in the Philippines it has only made election cheating faster, more widespread, and no doubt more lucrative – the one thing the Philippines does well!

The paucity of choice for president also suggests that, whatever the outcome, it will likely be a case of “more of the same,” with high hopes being followed by broken promises, increased inequality, sustained poverty/unemployment levels, blatant hypocrisy, endless propaganda, and naked self-interest, with no real progress for the 90% + of Filipinos who continue to struggle and live day to day, whilst their elected Senate representatives each pocket on average 10 – 20 million pesos per annum, and live high on the hog! – so no surprise that elections are a bloodbath, and attract the greedy, the lazy, the corrupt, and the criminal elements.

Take back our democracy

Voters must look beyond simple name recall, free t-shirts, and dancing girls, and seek to redress the balance of power wherever possible, and take back democracy, before it becomes an irrelevant charade.

The Philippines must also fight to regain its former glory, and no longer accept being bottom of the Asean league table, derided by its neighbors, and shunned by investors.

From the world’s worst airports, roads, traffic, through to the worst impunity, and increasing human rights abuses, national pride has recently plumbed new depths, and the country can no longer ignore the shameful global image which it now has.

The election campaigns will likely follow previous templates by appealing to the emotions, and focusing upon the “story,” putting superficiality above substance, with little in the way of vision, strategies, solutions or concrete plans, and simply turning the whole process into a mix of telenovelas, and song and dance acts, liberally peppered with black propaganda.

The electorate must not let the clowns take over the circus again, – the past 6 years have been characterized by incompetence, hypocrisy, and disunity – or give the corrupt the key to the bank vault, and thereby, to their hard- earned, and highly leveraged, taxes.

And any rational voter should pay no heed to the mind conditioning “surveys” which hardly reflect reality. These survey companies should be investigated and/or banned, instead of hiding behind a cloak of secrecy.

A death grip by oligarchs

The Philippines – 100 million population – is in a death grip by a small number of oligarchs – 40 – and their compliant dynastic/political families – 150 – which between them account for 76% of the wealth, (hence inclusive growth is simply a mantra, and a myth), 80% of the corruption (power corrupts….), and are the instigators/coddlers of major crime syndicates, murders, illegal gambling, and wholesale scams, as they fight to maintain power, accumulate ill-gotten gains, and reflect a barbaric 3rd world feudal society, devoid of intellect, integrity, innovation, or independence.

The current crop of leaders/politicians are a cancer upon the Philippines, and have infected everything they touched, turning the country into a cultural desert, and a land of thieves, with more and more desperate Filipinos being forced to leave their families and work abroad, and also the brightest now following suit in search of opportunity, leaving the country bereft of entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, engineers, teachers, or thought leaders. Mediocrity rules! Anti-intellectuals dominate! Part-time amateurs play petty politics! Patronage pervades!

The Philippines even makes FIFA look like a paragon of virtue.

And the situation has got worse, not better, but without a collective effort then the tipping point will soon be passed – if not already.

The oligarchs/dynasties’ only goal is to ensure that the status quo remains, and that their power base – politically or economically – does not change. The people have allowed a creeping dictatorship to gain a stranglehold, and squeeze people to the point of no resistance, and little hope. Wages are kept low whilst prices are raised, and short-term labor contracts add to the dehumanization of the work-force, and the perpetuation of a low cost labor force, and monopolistic policies.


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  1. A very fine intellect and well-defined observation using critical thoughts. I’m glad and very enthused to share this very article to every filipino here and abroad. Please make sure that this kind of thinking be expanded to the archipelago. Thankyouverymuch.

  2. “We may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings.” Helen Keller

    How true indeed among majority of us Filipinos.

  3. Arch.Lito L.Mallonga on

    Do we really want change. Change for the better. Here alone at Manila Times
    when I make comments never did they include me after I made a comment to former Minister of Public Information Mr. Tatad. Well lets see if you will bring this out here this time around now.

    Comelec said all candidates running for President will be known by Dec. 10
    I am one of the Candidates running too as President of the country. I am very qualified to run and meet most of the requirement . Dual Citizen means you can run as long as you do not renounce your birth country.

    Let me say this to all. If both parents are Filipinos regardless if you are born abroad
    you are still a FILIPINO thats the bottom line. If your parent is a Filipino and an American Mother or vise versa you are called half cook Filipino. So you have no
    right to represent our country .

    The comele disqualified me at the very last day of filing Oct. 16. They say that there are 130 Candidates, To be honest there are only 129 now as I was denied
    on the last day of filling. I have as very strong documents signed by the Hon. speaker of the House Jose De Venecia signed inside the house of Congress
    that I am sure they got scared.

    My qualifications will be known soon at FACEBOOK and other Social Medias
    that is now under construction for you to see who I am, my family the Mallonga’s
    Atty. Alma Mallonga is the wife of my cousin Atty. Eric Mallonga. All Mallonga’s are
    related . The Mallonga are from Tuguegarao City and some migrated to Metro Manilas and Butuan City in Mindanao. Mallongas are all professionals in
    Engineering, Architecture , lawyers and Police. the late Angel Mallonga is the Chief of Butuan City.

    The brother of my father Engr., Conrado Arizabal Mallonga Jr. Engr. Rosalio A.
    Mallonga is the former President of Association of Structural Engineers of PH
    and former Deputy Minister of DPWH during the time of Pres. Marcos and the
    eldest of both brothers Engr. Trinidad A Mallonga Mendoza is the first Civil lady
    Engineer and First District Lady Engineer of the Philippines who served as District
    Engineer of the Province of Cagayan.

    Mallonga’s are more on action than talking and it has been proven through all the years and never involved in any corruption.

    Arch. Angel (Lito) J.L. Mallonga
    Architect / Urban Planner FUAP

    REPLY: Sir we have never camcelled any comments from you!

    • If you are a dual citizen, then you are not qualified to run as a presidential candidate. You must have only Filipino citizenship, and you must be “natural-born”. If you want to qualify, you must give up your US or any foreign citizenship in a prescribed manner.

  4. lita daquiuag rostom on

    We used to blame politicians to our miseries, but who voted them? For sure I don’t blame those who are easily swayed by politician’s propagandas by their give aways as if came from their personal vaults. Politician’s “fond de commerce” are their voters so
    habang buhay bola iyan by using public funds. All we can do is hoping those good public servants continue their good work (kasi huwag naman natin ila-lahat) at sana iyong mga corrupt diyan makonsensiya na at magretire na sila. Give way to new generations kasi akala ng mga old politicians nasa permanent plantilla position
    na sila. If only we have just efficient police and judiciary institution, perhaps respect and confidence from the mass to our government, hence progress begin, it’s certain.

  5. Can someone please ask Ms Poe in an open forum…what is her course of action with the cases against Revilla and Estrada if she becomes president? Even this early she has a decision already. She can’t be possibly asking support from J Estrada if she will not return favours? I am overseas and cannot attend forums.

  6. Reader Hector is absolutely right in his assessment of the current political climate that is controlled by the oligarchs.
    Take back the country from the Dynasties and Oligarchs, if not now, when ?

    “A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves”

  7. the cause of all our woes is “moral depravity” because of our idolatrous practices. we have never learned from the experience of the people of Israel, the chosen ones, in biblical times. Our loving but also just God disciplines His creatures, we who are created in His image. Not until we repent and turn back to Him will change happens in our country. my short thought.

  8. Rizalito David on

    I share the same sentiments and that is why we are running for public office. But what ails us cannot be remedied by merely engaging its roots through secular means. It is our position that we must employ the teachings of our Catholic Christian faith in politics and governance and mostly live to its demands in the conduct of our daily lives. We need a Faith Revolution.

    • Yes Filipinos need a Faith Revolution. Filipinos need to live a genuine life in Christ.
      How many uses their Catholicism like a diploma for people to see or even as a smokescreen for wrongdoings, a certificate of acceptability,and social standing.Their Christianity is simply a cultural practice, in another way of saying:, Pharisaical.
      It does not strive to be a true personal relationship with God. and if it were it is only in time of desperate situation. After the crises life is back to what it was.
      God to them is like a bank to make deposit, withdraw, or take a loan, a relationship that is purely a business transaction. If they do something “for God” it is with the thought that they are doing God a favor because one gives God a spare of their time..

      What is being missed is that it is God who is doing man a favor. He want to restore man to his image and likeness, and most of all become his a sons and daughters; He is rescuing/redeeming man from sin, from captivity to Satan which results in misery, conflict, violence, murder, pride, avarice that victimizes others to become poor.
      Yes, Filipinos need a Faith revolution.

  9. Since we can never trust Smartmatic results to be reflective of the true will of the people, we surely can never accept any of those it will select as “winner”. Then, the only alternative is to remove all those in the political leadership before the end of the year and allow a Leader to effect the changes in four months. During the four months, we choose an automated election system that will be transparent, efficient and quick while at the same time mandating all drug lords, carnappers, KFR gangs, smugglers, gunrunners, jueteng lords, terrorists, bureaucrat capitalists and white slavery gangs to cease their nefarious ways and declare all their assets for proper taxation after which period those who still persists are systematically erased. Then, we call an election for all elective posts and for delegates to a Constitutional Convention.

    • Good plan, might want to impose a strict anti dynasty law before filling up the government with the same clowns.

      A Freedom of information law would be a good idea as well.

      The current government will never pass any laws that might expose their looting.

      The anti dynasty was supposed to be passed 28 years ago according to the 1987 constitution but those corrupt trapo’s will never pass it. It’s just another law that gets talked about as important then ignored and killed by the congress.

  10. Every filipinos young and old,educated and uneducated, rich and poor knew what our country has become. Philippines is a lost cause, our only last hope is this generation of filipinos perished and replaced by a new one.