In the remaining few weeks in the lead up to this year’s elections, the most prominent Opposition coalition dubbed “Otso Diretso” have yet to make progress up the poll rankings into that fabled “Magic 12”. So far only two individuals have made it to that list — Bam Aquino (an Aquino, we are reminded) and Mar Roxas (of “you are a Romualdez and the president is…” fame). In a sense, it remains debatable whether it was wise to come up with the Otso Diretso machine to begin with because, at the end of the day, it comes down to individual name recall.
As a coalition, Otso Diretso has so far failed to make a compelling pitch to the broader base of Filipino voters. What it has, instead, achieved is merely ratchet up the inbred rabidness of its small cliquish community of constituents. It did this by continuing to drum in the dogma of the liberal orthodoxy into its followers’ heads. The uppity notions of “human rights”, “gender equality”, “gay rights” — long rendered irrelevant to a public grown weary of no-results abstractions — continue to serve as fodder for the ineffectual campaign of Otso Diretso.
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The latter two, gender equality and gay rights, in particular were manufactured “issues”. Homosexual people have long been an accepted and included group in Philippine society. At a time when flamboyant homosexuality was greeted with curious contempt in many even more advanced liberal societies, characters portrayed by comedy greats like Roderick Paulate and the King of Comedy himself, Dolphy, were hits in the mainstream. The Philippines also for so long led the region in gender equality, long before this snowflake term was coined. Indeed, female workers fuel the engines of much of what props up the Philippine economy — the “informal” and overseas employment components of it that benefit the masses.
The Opposition are, in essence, insulting the intelligence of Filipino voters in presuming to lecture them on “gender equality” and “gay rights”. Filipinos have long lived and breathed these concepts. All the Opposition did was package them into dishonest slogans and doctrines that they now use to grease their election winning machines and, worse, their attempts at sedition.
But the worst and most dishonest ideas the Opposition are propagating today involve painting the current Philippine government as one that is “tyrannical” and the judiciary as hopelessly dysfunctional. It is really bad because they do this not to build upon but to tear down. They would rather see a Philippines set back to achieve their ends rather than craft a platform or strategy to build upon what is working and what’s been progressed. We can see this destructive attitude in the way they would run to and get in bed with foreign powers to undermine the Philippines from the outside — a perverse sort of reverse colonialism.
The fact is, Philippine democracy works — or, at least, it is functioning to the letters that govern it enshrined in the 1987 Yellowtard Constitution. If it is not working to the specific ends of the Opposition and the personal agendas of its Otso Diretso “leaders”, that is more a reflection of the skill they apply at navigating the system. Perhaps it is this consistently evident lack of skill at working within the system that accounts for the Yellowtards’ penchant for favouring dishonest approaches to achieving their goals.
You wonder then why a political bloc whose leaders believe that Philippine democracy is broken enough to justify inviting foreign intervention into the country is participating in this year’s elections to begin with. If they truly believe the system is rigged against them, then they should match that rhetoric with actual open rebellion against a system they have no faith in.
It is interesting to note that this bloc’s campaign machine is supported by a media organisation, Rappler, that is accused of offenses against laws barring foreigners from owning media businesses in the Philippines. It is also worth considering that the cornerstone of this Opposition’s campaign against alleged “human rights abuses” of this government involves walking into the embrace of the so-called “International Criminal Court” — an “international” body with a track record of selectively picking on easy targets to justify its billion dollar entitlements from rich governments emotionally-blackmailed into funding it. You then wonder: Who really is the foreign invader here?
Ironic, indeed, that the top “thought leaders” of today’s Philippine Opposition mount a shrill movement to highlight the importance of “honesty” in government when their campaign this year is anything but.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.