The current political environment
When the country’s political system is subverted so that power and political influence fall under the control of those who have no appreciation of and respect for the common good, the system will most likely become a tool for oppression and the promotion of selfish ambition. This is so in our country today. Institutions which normally provide checks on the conduct of our politicians have been coopted or destroyed. The real essence of democracy and public service is virtually lost. The debasement of our politics has become the biggest threat to our national security and wellbeing.
Philippine politics from ages ago has been largely dominated by political dynasties in virtually all of our geographic subdivisions. Many of these political families are concerned only with their own interests and the protection of their acquired wealth and influence.
Quite disturbing is the rise to prominence of a circle of pseudo revolutionaries, known for their “messianic” tendencies. They have gained, in recent years, effective access to Malacanang. They rode on a historical quirk that propelled a perfect puppet to the presidency, a President with an exaggerated sense of self-esteem, although completely lacking in maturity to be able to handle serious state questions. Some people are convinced he suffers from a mental disability that needs immediate medical attention.
During the last five years, this circle has been serving as “cordon sanitaire” in the Palace. Among other things, they have deflected serious public concern on the true mental and psychological state of the President. As to who is actually running government is difficult to ascertain at this point. It is even difficult to pinpoint whether it is the President or members of this circle who are actually responsible in providing the nation with most of the amateurish policy directions and blunders that caused undue national and regional instability and miseries to our people.
The nation should be concerned that individuals with no direct responsibility to the electorate may be misusing the powers granted by the people to the Presidency.
Unsurprisingly the present regime is also supported by the oligarchy. Never before were the oligarchy and other vested wealthy interests ever granted such uncontrolled freedom to pursue their economic interests regardless of whether these are inimical to the people and the state, or whether even parts of the nation’s patrimony are already being systematically destroyed.
Almost all of the constitutionally mandated mechanisms for the peaceful transfer of power have been subverted and controlled. On the other hand, most of those presenting themselves as potential national political leaders are essentially of the same breed and mold. The 2016 election will yet again be a mere formality to deliver to our suffering people more of the same.
Revolutionary change as an option
The Philippines may have introduced to the world a peaceful way of achieving revolutionary transfer of political power. Sadly this did not carry with it exhaustive lessons on what to do and what not to do after gaining state power. The Philippines failed to make use of the strategic advantages of revolutionary power. Despite three revolutionary “successes”—Marcos’s “revolution from the center,” the EDSA I people power, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s takeover from Joseph Ejercito Estrada—-no fundamental societal change ever took place in the Philippines. The nation and majority of its people have remained poor. Philippine society has remained divided into two nations, one scandalously rich, the other obscenely and unacceptably poor.
The nation is ripe for a real revolution. It is becoming increasingly evident that another revolutionary transfer of power may yet be unfolding, except that its sure and steady advance may not be discernible to all. As our historical experience teaches us, societal change of this sort cannot really be planned, nor can it it be aborted once it acquires its own momentum.
If we are to succeed, this time, in propelling our nation to the kind of total societal change that our people are aching for, several fundamentals have to be ensured. These we must prepare for.
First and foremost, regime change has to be kept peaceful. The rumblings are there: among groups and formations, from extreme left to extreme right of the political spectrum. At the same time, the social media is on fire, with opinions about the President already bordering on the bizarre. Murmurs of discontent are loud enough to be heard from the ranks of men and women in uniform. Of course the Catholic hierarchy and the mainstream Protestants have yet to receive clearer signals from Heaven, while our poor are characteristically quiet, allowing darkness to hide their weepings, as their only recourse to ease their daily sufferings.
Faced with the same situation, other societies would have exploded in violence. But, happily, not the Philippines, and we should not allow it. A violent revolution will certainly fail; besides it is morally wrong to cause our people to any more hardships, as it is unpardonably wrong to allow the nation to continue on a road of false hopes and unrelieved misery.
The campaign fever is upon us. Our people will once more be subjected to choices that would offer only more of the same to all, especially the poor. This we cannot allow. Revolutionary change is an option. This opportunity has happened in the Philippines not once but thrice before. We should remind our people that such an option exists.
We cannot stop revolutionary change but we can attempt to guide it. We could begin doing this by presenting it as a real option to our people. A national campaign should be launched. Instead of personalities, we should offer a formula for fulfilling a long cherished national dream. There is a dictum: how you campaign will show how you will govern. This national campaign for revolutionary change should be the the first step toward actualizing the essence of revolutionary change: a nation governed “by the people”, and truly for the people.