How Filipinos can fix their broken “democracy”

Perhaps rightly so, Opposition partisans in the Philippines lament the way “democracy” is working for them nowadays. They lost an entire nation in the 2016 elections that catapulted former Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency today and botched a chance to gain a foothold into Congress when they suffered a catastrophic loss in the 2019 national elections. Indeed, it is not that big a stretch to perceive Philippine “democracy” to be quite sick when you are at its losing end.

The trouble with this thinking is that it lacks perspective. If Opposition “thought leaders” step back for a minute and regard the complete picture, they will find that Philippine democracy is working as it should be; that is, according to how the 1987 Constitution intended it to. Leaders in the executive branch and representatives in the legislature are elected by popular vote within their respective jurisdictions. Worse, the Vice President is elected separately to the President — very likely a decision made by the framers of the Constitution informed by the paranoia over a possible “return to tyranny” that marked the period following the EDSA “revolution” of 1986.

In short, the Opposition led by a rabidly partisan bloc loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) made their own bed when they signed up to the 1987 Yellowtard Constitution. This was a charter, after all, that put a premium on popularity over qualifications. The thinking at the time is that the “will of the people”, read the majority, rules. As it turns out, this was all just a euphemism for the oxymoron on exhibit today, that popularity makes it right.

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How then do you “fix” democracy, seeing that democracy is, by its very nature, a popularity-makes-it-right ideology?

This is a question that haunts today’s democrats and liberals. When the very system you championed suddenly turns you into a loser, the natural recourse is to discredit this system. That’s coming in a bit late to the party. Back in mid-2015, I had already pointed out Filipinos’ rather retarded approach to participating in the democratic process

Coming back closer to home, to the Philippine setting, we see the way Filipinos have also retarded themselves to using democracy as a mere toy rather than a real tool for modern governance. We can see in the Philippine national “debate” in the lead-up to the 2016 national elections that there is hardly any trace of intellectual substance in the rhetoric dished out by the Philippines’ so-called “thought leaders” and opinion shapers. The candidates being evaluated all fall far short of the bar set by real statesmen of a calibre that makes real sovereigns and real national leaders. Yet the national obsession remains fixated on the three- to four-odd bozos vying for that lucrative seat in Malacanang.

Nothing much has changed. Today’s Opposition, though boasting a who’s-who of chi chi private Catholic school educated partisans, “activists”, “thought leaders”, and “media practitioners”, has contributed very little to the uplift of the national “debate”. This is hardly surprising considering that an environment in which popularity holds primary currency does not provide fertile ground for intellectual conversation to thrive. This is also the reason mainstream media community had consistently failed to contribute to building a more intelligent society. This is because its members’ business models constrain them to channeling the bulk of their investment funds and resources towards delivering the lowest common denominator content to their audience — low-brow mass entertainment.

Democracy per se cannot be fixed. What can be fixed, however, is the quality of its participants. If Filipinos want to remain a democracy, they will need to participate in its processes more intelligently. It is quite evident that the Opposition are not up to the task of leading such an initiative. They remain fixated to a bad habit of negative campaigning — seeking to tear down rather than propose compelling alternatives to move forward. And as to that other big institution that presumes to “guide” Filipino thinking, the Roman Catholic Church, well, there is something to be said about an organisation that continues to uphold doctrines that its own officials deem exempt from critical scrutiny and challenge. The Yellowtards, mainstream media, and the Roman Catholic Church — institutions that exert strong influence over Filipinos — are all inherently incapable of evolving.

Filipinos should start their long-overdue evolution into smart participants in a modern democracy by rejecting the perverted leadership of the Yellowtards, mainstream media, and the Church. We could start by embracing independent thinking and turn our backs towards the obsolete tradition of idolatry — to self-appointed “thought leaders” and heroes, to credentials of dubious substance, and to medieval robes and sceptres — that characterises today’s political discourse. Only then can we begin a march to true democratic maturity.

4 Replies to “How Filipinos can fix their broken “democracy””

  1. Impossible task, that’s what I have described Duterte wanting to fix a broken system that everyone seems to clamor about fixing, but have their own views on how to fix it. Look at the Yellows propagating and consolidating Political Power on to themselves with petty and shameless attacks against their rivals, just take a look at what that attack dog who used his Political Office to enact his long years of being a political attack dog with the Media highlighting his entire show or maybe those Senators who accepted blood money to remove Corona on dubious evidence, I am sure glad those three opposition Senators who were imprisoned after being a convenient scapegoat after the reveal of the DAP scandal got what they deserved.

    And now this, an Opposition Party who are planning to do another EDSA garbage rally with the most pathetic reason to “Oust Duterte”, his Government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. They lost an election, but they continue screeching ineffectively with their idiocy in thinking their circlejerk in twitter with a trending hashtag that those twats at Twitter can allow or disallow, means it’s legitimate nationwide call to remove a duly-elected President. This is pathetic. We aren’t politically mature, most Filipinos are too busy working to the bone in their livelihood to care, but these expert professional activists have all the time in the world to solve the problem of their egos, go against Duterte instead of offering an alternative that isn’t just wishy-washy platitudes like the last President. I pity the opposition, your standard bearers are two brands of hypocrites, Yellow or Red.

  2. First of all, we have never been a Democracy…we are a Feudal Oligarchy, with a little bit of Theocracy and much of a “Kleptocracy”….

    Unless, we put that 1987 Cory Aquino constitution to trash, we will never fix anything in our system of government. That garbage Aquino constitution, served well the : Aquino Cojuangco political axis; the oligarchs; the feudal oligarchs; the leftist organization fronts; the CPP/NPA; etc…

    In politics, it is mostly the choice between popularity and competence. In our case, we elected actors, actresses, show biz people, and all kinds of incompetents. Hoping that they can serve us well in the government; the same way, they can entertain us well.

    We are stupid voters, who cannot distinguish between: competence and popularity. There are many crooks, election cheaters, scammers, and tricksters elected in government positions. It is because, we don’t use our common sense and brains, to elect people who can really serve us well.

    I have no confidence that our governance system will ever be fixed; because people have been used to it for many years; and most crooks in the government are still there; and are not punished !

  3. To their shock, the Yellow opposition camp is faced with PH democracy evolving before their very eyes: a type of pseudo-dictatorial democracy has emerged, with 90% of the people giving their thumbs up to Duterte’s “authoritarian rule”.

    Previously untouchable entities are now being trampled on like helpless mushrooms: VFA, ABS-CBN, Rappler, drug lords, oligarchy,…

    Until we reach the point of an intelligent democracy (an oxymoron in the PH context), a benevolent dictatorship will continue to be appealing for Filipinos, in keeping with the LKY path that Singapore took towards becoming the super state they are today.

    May Filipinos choose their next strongman ruler well, in order to perpetuate the successes the current iron-handed empire has gained. The momentum (or force = dp/dt) be with us all.

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