Lead up to fiesta elections: Has Philippine democratic politics changed at all?

pig_in_powerFrom the little window through which I take stock of the landscape of issues that describe the lead up to the May 2013 elections, I’d say — surprise surprise — things haven’t changed much. A lot of developments have supposedly further liberalised and democratised democracy as it is practiced in the Philippines. The two new key gateways ordinary folk could supposedly take to joining the mainstream politics and political discourse of the Philippines that have been traditionally dominated by politicians affiliated with oligarchs and their dynasites have been fully-utilised; i.e.,

(1) the party list system has, in principle, allowed “marginalised” sectors within Philippine society to bid for a piece of the country’s lucrative power pie; and,

(2) the Net (of which social media is a subset) has turned millions of people into content publishers effectively breaking the monopoly highly-capitalised print and broadcast media companies have had on information dissemination.

Have these “new” tools supposedly meant to “empower” the powerless done the job?

Consider the party list system. Many will agree that this avenue for the society’s “marginalised” masses has been fully perverted beyond recognition. Groups within the ranks of the self-described champions of these marginalised folk — the communists — are now at each others’ throats exhibiting the very same talangka behaviour they once all loved to gleefully point out in the “reatcionaries” they love to wax rhetoric about. The centroid of all this Leftist internal mudslinging apparently is senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros formerly of commie front Akbayan who is widely believed to have betrayed her Leftist cause to sellout to the Establishment “Team PNoy”.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr in a blog post already goes at length into explaining why Akbayan has lost its claim to the right to be called a “party list” organisation, highlighting how it might fail to convincingly respond to three key questions on the matter: “Is Akbayan marginalized and underrepresented? Are Akbayan’s nominees marginalized and underrepresented based on what is required under the law? Can a group claiming to represent the marginalized be an integral member of the reactionary ruling clique?” Bayan, of course, is just another one of those commie groups. But now that elections are in the air, even the best of buddies will not think twice about stabbing the other in the back.

Even candidate Teddy Casiño uses clever words to muddle things for us: “Leftist but not communist?” Perhaps. But no amount of clever wordsmithing can seem to hide his consistent failure to outright denounce communism despite claiming to have disavowed himself of its “armed struggle”.

Classy indeed. George Orwell’s Animal Farm was dead spot-on. When pork barrel funds beckon, Leftists conveniently forget their ideology of destruction in order to reshape themselves into whatever form it takes to partake of the Establishment’s gold.

Then there is the social media scene. It is advocacy-by-retweet and action-by-Like. Harmless at best. A nice hangout scene for armchair political hobbyists. Whereas blogs in the early 2000s forced old-time netizens to structure their thoughts in coherently-articulated blog articles, publishers of content on today’s social media platforms propagate with very minimal insight-added-value — the equivalent of serving as mere added-cost middlemen in an inefficient supply chain that brings food from the farmgate onto our dining tables. Today, we get a lot of information literally from the tweets of little birds, much the same way as Filipinos buy their cigarettes tingi (one stick at a time) from little boys and girls hawking their wares in the traffic-choked streets of Manila.

Worse, many social media “activists” have turned to the very practice that blights the National “Debate” in the Philippines, donning costimes and engaging in circus stunts to amass zombie-like followers using persuasion techniques reminiscent of cult leaders like Jim Jones. Put these shocktivists side by side with the loathsome trapos who we love to hate and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell them apart.

Indeed, things haven’t changed. At the top of the food chain remains the traditional folk from which true power originates — politicians who control the gold and publishers who produce original rich content. The proverbial pyramid may look the same but those that inhabit its pinnacle may no longer be recognisable. The new Leftists-turned-sellouts will go on to become the new trapos (traditional politicians) as certain former “radicals” now scrambling for senate seats are demonstrating. And the old traditionals of Media, whose abilities to publish what is supposed to be published is increasingly hindered by the agendas of their owners, will see their credibitlity and responsiveness slowly chipped away by more agile and more savvy wielders of modern media business models.

Timing is king. In that most recent of journalism scandals currently rocking the chattersphere, the tables have turned for publishing behemoth Inquirer Group. They have for now turned from being a source of rich content on which bottomfeeders feast, to a hapless — and clumsy — disseminator of content produced by a new breed of increasingly powerful digital producers. It’s not really “crowdsourcing” when you are too quick to believe what you crowdsource.

There is no substitute for basic thinking. That simple principle hasn’t changed at all.

[Image courtesy Behance.net.]
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44 Comments on “Lead up to fiesta elections: Has Philippine democratic politics changed at all?”

  1. Same old, same old.

    And consequently no progress as evidenced by todays figures that nearly 30% of filipinos live in poverty – no change since 2006 – and i suspect that the next tranche of circa 40% are only just surviving and certainly without luxuries.
    Other key macroeconomic indicators – un/underemployed, average wages, ofw migration, underline the complete absence of genuine progress/inclusive growth, simply a widening divide.
    It really is a dismal failure by the political dynasties who like to talk of service whilst their actions shout self-interest, and their abilities scream incompetence.

    But if someone can sell their child for 1200 pesos and their vote for 300 pesos, then maybe the best thing is not to worry, because the masa will believe anything, and do nothing, and then they lose sympathy, respect, and support.

  2. The answer to the question? Sadly is NO.
    The way things are shall not change, regardless of who wins any election.

    OFW’s are the smart ones, the heroes on an entire nation.

    Without them at least 10% of the economy goes down the drain.

    What is going to happen has already been decided.So sit back and enjoy the show, comedy at its finest!

  3. What hasn’t changed is the philippines adoption of the american approach of the ‘story’ as being central to the election process ,appealing to the emotions, rather than in more enlightened european countries where elections focus more on policy and performance and appeal to the intellect/debate.
    Stories can create myths and quickly hide the facts/truth, as evidenced by the cory aquino brand where the reality is hidden and like any brand it is all about the image and tagline – tge truth becomes an irrelevance and an inconvenience to be hidden under the bed, just like cory did.
    it’s stories for the stupid

    1. Intellect is no longer part of Filipino voters’ basis in choosing government officials because they will use it for corruption. (eg Marcos and Arroyo) The basis now is trustworthiness, incorruptible and excellent attitude towards government service. (eg Ninoy, Tita Cory, PNoy, Bam Aquino)

      1. Lemme guess, palagi kang bagsak sa mga subjects mo during high school at college ano indio? I bet you don’t know the meaning of life as well. So are you implying that Jose Rizal is corrupt as well? Because he is an intellect you know especially when he made his two novels. You just want this country to turn into the likes of somalia and not like Japan, the Scandinavian countries and even New Zealand because you want the people and even your mother, father and your future children to become stupid and moronic. Next thing you know, a massive meteor shower or an atomic holocaust will hit our country nationwide removing it off the map thanks to the likes of you screwing it up.

      2. That’s true eduardo. That’s why Filipinos mostly end-up as ass-wipers (i.e. “alila”; slaves; domestic helpers; tsimoy/tsimay, katulong; atsoy/atsay; etc.) to foreigners, because of a lack of role-model intellectuals who can inspire more Filipinos to become intellectuals themselves.

        You want to make Filipinos believe that being intelligent means being corrupt—and this makes many Filipinos think that education is useless, because it is better to become “bobo”, kasi “bobo” means mabait raw—kasi utu-uto tulad ni eduardo.

      3. @eduardo, unless you impress me with a comment that looks like it’s actually been thought through rather than coming across like something parroted off a script, I will continue placing your comments in the spam folder. All views are accepted here but if they come across as ill-thought-out propaganda drivel, they will be removed.

      4. so in other words, mas gugustohin mong bobo at mang mang na katulad mo ang maglingkod sa bayan kaysa isang tao na matalino, mahusay at masipag?
        Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you all,the shining example of how a yellowtard’s logic has consistently FAILED in impressing us here at GRP

    1. The question is where are THE results f***face? “He fights corruption completely”? What a load of bulls***! You and your propaganda pnoy’s c***sucker.

        1. Pfft yeah right pnoy’s c***sucker. He has 3 years remaining for him and you noytards to screw up this country once again.

        2. 3 years and still NO results.
          Wow eduardo, your blindness is showing once again. You are really not putting in a good word for your president since you are showing us how dumb his supporters really are.

        3. and we ALREADY TOLD YOU that he still hasn’t done ANYTHING!

          Can’t you even put that simple information into your tiny brain??

        4. “Don’t expect the results now because the president has 3 years remaining.”

          So you mean to say that we should wait 3 more years of incompetence?
          Nice logic you got there…NOT!

          “I already told you it is not a one day job!”

          LOL, you mad TROLL?

          Unfortunately for you, we still won’t believe your president’s LIES.
          3 years of doing NOTHING, and you still keep believing him?
          There are words in the dictionary fit for someone like you:

          being a sucker, believing, biting, credulous, easily taken in, easy mark, falling hook line and sinker, foolish, kidding oneself, simple, sucker, susceptible, swallowing whole, taken in, taking the bait, trustful, tumbling for

          TROLL HARDER,twatface

        5. Sorry, troll. You really misunderstood about corruption. Just like Noynoy.

          If I were him, I’ll get everyone. No bias. No exemption. Anyways, you’ll just whimper when we talk about HACIENDA LUISITA. 😛

    2. Really, he fights corruption effectively?

      Then why isn’t smuggling down at the Bureau of Customs?

      Then what happened to Nereus Acosta’s case?

      And what is happening with Sixto Brillantes’ tampong kulangot and his lack of concern about cheating in the upcoming elections

      Fights corruption effectively my ass. Putting Arroyo behind bars did not reduce corruption birdbrain.

        1. Here’s a dose of reality, Eduardo:

          Poverty level remains unchanged since 2006 – government survey

          Excerpts:

          “Comparing this with the 2006 and 2009 first semester figures estimated at 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively, poverty remained unchanged as the computed differences are not statistically significant,” NSCB noted in a statement.

          Based on the The Family Income and Expenditures Survey, the Philippines tracks the poverty rate once every three years.

          “Filipino families in extreme poverty whose incomes aren’t enough to meet basic food needs stands at 10 percent in the 1st half of 2012,” NSCB said.

          On average, 28 in every 100 Filipinos were poor in the last six years.

          and this:

          Doing business in the Philippines remains difficult owing to the slow and tedious process reforming the country’s business climate

          Starting a business in the Philippines is one of the most complicated in the world

          The Philippines continues to lag behind other countries, especially members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which have showed the biggest improvements in starting a business between 2009 and 2012.

          “Consider the process for starting a business. In New Zealand it requires only 1 procedure and 1 day and costs 0.4% of income per capita; in the Philippines it takes 16 procedures and 36 days and costs 18.1% of income per capita,” the report said.

          While it takes 16 procedures for an entrepreneur to start a business in Manila, in Canada and New Zealand it only takes one day. The only countries that have more procedures than the Philippines are Equatorial Guinea with 18 and Venezuela with 17.

          The Philippines is also one of the countries that make it difficult when it comes to securing construction permits, with 29 procedures that take an average of 84 days. Other countries that had more procedures are Russia with 42, Malaysia with 37 and India with 34.

        2. But are you sure that he’s really working on those problems? Or are you just all talk once again pnoy’s c***sucker? Because a lot of problems are already occurred during his administration (Manila hostage crisis) and yet they were never been solved even now. Iyan ba ang tinatawag mong anti-coruption nya ha indio? And don’t you ever start with that Corona’s impeachment once again pnoy’s c***sucker because it really didn’t eradicate corruption. You’re worsening it. If I was Raiden, I will gonna hunt and Zandatsu you and your army’s ass.

        3. And yet again, eduardo has gone silent every time we present solid facts to counter his lame propaganda drivel.
          Is that all you have eduardo?
          Do you realize now that you are pretty much f*ckedhere?
          Do you realize now that you will NEVER succeed in your attempts?

  4. I happened across a review of a book published in 2000 – “greed and betrayal” by cecilio arilo ( not easy to get hold of by all accounts), who is a veteran journalist, and also some insights into the boston life of the aquinos by patricia laurel. interesting stuff.

    The truth is an elusive companion in the land of myths, rumours and black propaganda but a lot seemed to make sense regarding the fight for hacienda luisita at all costs, the branding of the aquinos by creating a myth and suppressing the facts, the incompetence of cory and the corruption in her administration – hence no achievements re poverty/jobs etc, but instead giving away state assets to her relatives – cojuangcos, ensuring the rise of the chinocracy, and being a puppet for US interests/policy – and the pointed question as to why she was not interested in finding out about ninoy’s assassination – i assume she already knew.
    Also cory aquino’s dubious personality – love of gambling , which was well known, and inherited by kris aquino by all accounts, her affairs ( also clearly inherited by kris aquino), her emotional distance and seperate life from ninoy in boston, her political reluctance and poor work ethic, and the sham of good governance whilst the state coffers were being robbed by her KKK. ( inherited by p-noy), and her hiding under the bed – literally!! (P-noy also nowhere to be seen when there is a problem)
    Freud would have loved to analyse the oedipus complex in the aquino household.
    The country has not progressed but the political roundabout has gone full circle and it seems a mirror of what went before. The world changes, the philippines doesn’t.

    1. Quarterly rises in terms of GDP and increased Fitch ratings not a change for you? Then you are jealous of the Aquino administratiton.

      1. Fitch rating upgrade is not just a result of BS Aquino’s work. As mentioned before:

        “As usual, President BS Aquino was quick to take all the credit for the credit upgrade. Never mind that it was crystal clear that the credit agency emphasized that it was former President Gloria Arroyo who introduced reforms that effectively improved the fiscal management of the country, something that BS Aquino is reaping rewards for at present. GMA’s VAT reform law in 2005 was said to “have made general government debt dynamics more resilient to shocks.”

      2. Meh but there are still lack of decent jobs here pnoy’s c***sucker. Even the poor people didn’t felt that “progress” you’re bitching.

      3. i only have contempt for liars, cheats, hypocrites, murderers, plunderers.. and trolls.
        what a role model you choose.
        no doubt unemployed – being a propagandist does not count.
        what is the occupation on your passport – oh, dont have one, never been anywhere, know nothing.

        1. Looks like being a yellow propagandist requires no brains, no logic, copy & paste skills and undying support for the aquino administration.

  5. It is clear that the cojuangco-aquino’s in their various guises are the root cause of so many past and present problems.
    Self interest makes them both shameful and despicable.
    The cory and p-noy puppet presidencies which allowed so much damage to be done (corruption, rise of oligarchs, consolidation of political dynasties, divided society, ‘rule’ by US) will take a generation to undo at least.
    They certainly have special place in hell for their treachery, starting with aquino sr – the ultimate traitor.
    Strange how aquinos keep dying at opportune moments.

  6. now that the ‘blame arroyo’ strategy has run out of steam, and believers, then the new tack is the ‘jam tomorrow/more time’ strategy.
    anything to get through mid term elections and then work on next legal/illegal cons/stories/excuses come 2016.
    pathetic failures and always predictable from the outset.

    jam tomorrow on the tables of 30 million filipinos is worth as much as one of aquino’s promises.

  7. You still wonder why your stupid comments keep getting deleted, TROLL?
    HAH! you can’t even figure it out?
    What a MORON, no wonder we keep kicking your ass

  8. poor eduardo the 7th
    as stupid as tgey come.
    a trite one line slogan.
    that sums up aquino.
    no ability to defend his position, no eloquence
    a stuttering idiot who clearly needs elocution lessons.
    reading from an autocue is not difficult
    but thinking and working is beyond p-noy.
    just like his university days, and everyday since.
    what a spineless individual.
    just like eduardo.
    a sack of sh!t

    1. Eduardo the yellow c*cksucker of the balding assface in malacanang.
      Eduardo the clueless troll that still doesn’t know why his comments keep getting deleted here.
      Eduardo the dumbest troll of the malacanang miscommunications group.

  9. what an idiot you are
    and shame on you and your family to be paid to utter such rubbish
    a traitor to filipinos – just like the aquinos.

  10. judging by the outflow of dollars and huge increase in smuggling, jueteng, and now vote buying by the LP/administration then p-noy aquino is going to go down as the most corrupt president in philippine history, even without all the pork barrel bribes.
    that will be his ultimate legacy

  11. Due to the incompetence and lack of compassion of p-noy and his administration their slogan will now be
    ‘ let them eat sh!t’ , whilst they dine on ofw remittances, budget slush funds and monopoly profits.

  12. The deletion of eduardo’s comments makes my life happier than ever! 😀

    Now is the time that his posts should be deleted everytime he tries to post here.

    1. This marks the day that eduardo has failed yet again to put a dent, scratch on GRP.
      Have a nice death eduardo a.k.a. The FALLEN TROLL

  13. Eduardo has two good points. Even if the former admin. was responsible for the GDP and Fitch’s upgrade: NEITHER Arroyo nor Aquino has improved the lot of the masses.
    The people are stil faced with massive poverty in a country whose resources are massive and being sold out from under the noses of the people for a mere pitence. The flooding in Mindanao is a direct result of the massive logging in the Nort-east Mindanao region. Proof of this can be readily observed every single night for the last 5 years a massive parade of trailers moving loads of fresh cut trees down the northern highway from Surigao City to CDO, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!

    Problems like this remain IGNORED, the people live in total squalor and people on this web-site act as if it is Aquino or Arroyo’s fault? how laughable is that? it is the entrenched political dynasties collective fault. Corruption at all levels of gov’t., GOCC’s lack of auditing. While Political fanfare,arguments, discussions are nothing but a smoke screen to divide the people and mask what is really going on, and at this point if anyone needs to be told what is really going on….stick a fork in yourself coz there is no soup, I mean, no hope, for you!!! NO FUTURE FOR YOU!!!!

  14. The blame game is bull-shit. Look at the peoples’ lives since E-rap entered office to the present day, there is no difference…NONE!
    the politicians are all the same, they do not call political “PARTIES”, “PARTIES”… for no reason.
    The Virtual Vigilante has a solution that is screaming to be implemented.
    As ‘tweedle-dee’ and ‘tweedle-dum'(Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy) said about Silas Barnabey to the assembled masses in ‘Babes in Toyland’, all those yrs. ago: “Let’s get him.”.As they had clearly had enough of that guys, and all his cronies, shit!

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