Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Philippines post-election

May 10 is a significant and momentous event for two (2) reasons: one, this election will take place coinciding with the parliamentary elections in England. That will be a very interesting study between elections conducted in a 3rd world country and that of a highly industrialized one. Whatever happens in these two events will give us a glimpse of how democracy works between two (2) differing cultures

Gordon Brown's campaign is being attacked right now because of what many people see as "bigotry in the big picture". Brown's bigoted remark is spreading throughout the world and enjoying negative publicity. 

Here in the Philippines, we see political parties slugging it out thru black propaganda. One candidate, Nacionalista party standard bearer Manny Villar and his entire senatorial slate are being villified for unleashing negative campaigning while the Liberal party is now perceived to be on the crest of victory. Elections on both sides of the globe are resorting to age old tactics and getting the same kind of impact on the perception of the electorate. 

And second, this elections will test the mettle of our Nation. Many people are asking--will this lead to violence, as many people think, or will this be a sobering event that will again reinvigorate our democracy for the next six years?

Whoever wins this elections will face daunting challenges. Poverty reduction will not be the core feature of the new administration. The main task will definitely be about democratization of government institutions. It will be about reducing the incidence of graft and corruption and possibly, even correcting the fundamental errors in our concepts of governance and structures. 

There are hard challenges ahead and whoever wins will face extreme and direct confrontation with strong political and economic forces, out to preserve the status quo and will only give the new president an inch towards substantive change. The centuries-old problems will continue and will dampen the spirits of many, but after three years, people will see and feel, the difference. 

The first three years will be violent, especially under an Aquino administration. Anti-Aquino forces will not easily back down, but will muster enough forces to neutralize whatever gains Aquino will accomplish in his first years in office. This early, indications are rife that military groups will directly challenge an Aquino presidency. There will be two (2) areas of concern under an Aquino presidency: first, the legislative challenge and second, the military challenge. 

If Aquino's political party fails to muster a majority in Congress, and both the lower and upper houses are dominated by non-Aquino forces, it will be quite difficult for Aquino to govern. Proposed legislation will face extreme opposition, especially to an Arroyo dominated Congress. 

Those who now oppose the prospect of an Aquino presidency will now work for the election of non-Aquino affiliated Congressmen and Senators whose interests will solely lie on preserving the status quo. The promises of change will fall by the wayside. Priority bills will languish in the aged vaults of the 15th Congress.

Charter change will again be revived even under an Aquino presidency and this will present a very dangerous proposition to the Filipino people. One, this will magnify the social fissures present and second, will be opposed by a Republican-minded citizenry. Likewise, a change in the structure of governance will definitely face stiff opposition from the United States. The US can ill afford to lose a very strategic ally in the Pacific because any change in the democratic model patterned after the States will be interpreted negatively by the former hegemon

Hence, it is very important that the people elect the entire Liberal party into power because this will lead to stability for the next six years. The party should dominate both houses of Congress and limit the influence exerted by the Arroyos

The Liberals should oppose the election of GMA allies in the non-formal sectors (partylists) and the traditional sectors (district). Likewise, very important that at least eight senatorial candidates under the LP wing win in the forthcoming elections to be able to exert a major influence or voting block in the Senate. Senatorial candidates under the LP wing that are expected to clinch spots include: Drilon, Sergio Osmena, Lacson, Bautista, Acosta, Lim, Guingona, and of course, Biazon. These distinguished candidates should be elected into office to avoid the dangers of another power struggle between Legislative and Executive. 

Now, what if Villar or Erap or Gibo wins this elections?

Under a Villar presidency, coups will surely be a distinct feature because a Villar administration will definitely encounter strong opposition emanating from the AFP and big business. Villar has many enemies in the business sector whose interests will be directly affected by his election to office. This applies even to an Erap presidency. There will be continuous destabilization of government, and this will surely not be a welcome development. 

Under a Gibo Teodoro presidency, the same aristocracy will enjoy continuous power and this will exacerbate age-old social issues. A Gibo presidency is dangerous since this will more likely be a continuation of the discredited anti-poor policies of the Arroyo administration. Poverty will surely increase as well as societal problems. Insurgency will surely worsen and with Gibo's propensity to mismanage, will again rear its ugly head.