I was thinking of an epitaph piece for 1Sampayan yesterday after that fiasco of a launch. It seems the universe read my thoughts and here’s Randy David with his weekly Inquirer column. In today’s “Making the republic work”, David laments how “supposedly responsible and educated Filipinos” find appealing the idea “that a Sara Duterte-Rodrigo Duterte tandem might be the ideal team for the country in the 2022 presidential election”. He writes how “disturbing” this is, pointing out how…
It can only signify the final erosion of what is left of our national self-esteem, and the total distrust in the ability of the nation’s political class to govern.
Our problem as a nation runs deeper because on one side we have the “good” who claim they mean well even if they don’t. The other side of the equation are the “bad” who are supposedly the ills of society but are actually able to do some good. As a sociologist, David should know better what ails the country. It’s not really that hard to find the root cause. The political system is closely tied in to the socio-economic structure. This was the system of government the Spaniards put in place. A plantation-style theocracy which is why there is a parish in every town. The Americans didn’t bother to improve on these constructs because their immediate priority was subjugation.
The elite had bigger dreams — “Independence”. It was good working for the colonial masters but it was better if power was in their hands. We all know how the story goes. US priorities changed after World War II. Independence was granted but not totally. In effect, the elite became our new masters. The two-party system was nothing more than a political convenience. There was no practical ideology. Politics wasn’t issues-based. It was centered on politicians who were the feudal lords who controlled regional fiefdoms that could deliver the vote, legally and illegally if the need arose.
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The infrastructure which was in place pre-war was never rebuilt post-war. The Americans shepherded the Japanese so they would be in their corner and we never got paid for the reparations due. The elites focused on rebuilding what they lost during the war. It was only after Ferdinand Marcos won the Presidency that major infrastructure projects were launched. Marcos had a vision for the country. Unfortunately it was clouded by Imeldific. The Rose of Tacloban, then First Lady Imelda Marcos, wasn’t prepared for her role and suffered a nervous breakdown. But after treatment, she got her head screwed on straight and was prepared for the role of her life.
The opposition during martial law were the elites displaced by Ang Bagong Lipunan. Marcos understood the need for a national identity to unite Filipinos. Thus the myth of Maharlika was born. The problem was the country wasn’t actually independent because the Americans were still lurking in the background. The Philippines still served as their first line of defense in the Pacific. It was also a staging area for any conflict in the region. The US bases played a crucial role in the Vietnam War and the coup in Indonesia which toppled Sukarno.
After Marcos was ousted, “democracy” was restored. Since then, the political dysfunction only got worse. The Yellows (partisans loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan) embarked on a cult-building indoctrination campaign and the Yellow Ribbon replaced the flag. Instead of the standard of excellence in government with the best and brightest, the culture of mediocrity was ushered in. The wholesale dismissal of officials who were identified with Marcos was part of the cult-building. None of the long-term development plans were retained. It became build-as-you-go. This is why the national capital region is the mess that it is now. Worst was the brain drain that took place. Most of the talented Filipinos left to work abroad. Government became the haven of the idiot and the indolent.
The Opposition finally reaped what they sowed yesterday, the 12th of June 2021. The 1Sambayan coalition didn’t have any viable candidates to present to the public nor did they have a platform. It was still the same old narrative from the Marcos era about “freedom and democracy”. No sooner after they named their bets that the same began issuing polite statements basically saying we don’t want anything to do with you. Democracy died yesterday because the Opposition committed political suicide. Instead of insults and destablization the Opposition should have focused on taking a fiscalizer role and working with the administration. They don’t have the patience and diligence to put in the hard work which only served to expose their lust for power and the absence of a genuine concern for the welfare of the Filipino people.
This is the vindication of Marcos. I have often wondered why his lineage could only be traced back to his parents. There is nothing to find after them. Marcos was obviously of Chinese descent. Up to today, Marcos remains an enigma. It will be thirty-six years in 2022 since the 1986 “revolution” toppled Marcos. That’s how long the reign of the Yellows lasted. It’s all but a formality now. It is imperative that a new opposition rise. Our more progressive regional neighbors are ahead in their nation-building process. We need to catch up. A genuine opposition would still uphold the best interests of the country first and work with the administration after the election. EDSA and “people power” should be thrown in the trash. It’s about time that we give the Constitution the respect it deserves. For that matter, we should amend or do away with the 1987 Constitution en toto.
The Chinese have said that in crisis, there is opportunity. In the midst of the pandemic where the only certainty is uncertainty exists the opportunity to rebuild and build back better. The Opposition will never admit that there have been gains in the last five years. Duterte didn’t make good on all of his campaign promises but he made good on those which have an immediate impact. The 2022 election is not a referendum on Duterte. It is validation for him and vindication for Marcos. Singapore has a democratic dictatorship. Perhaps what worked for them would also work for us.
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