WORM’S EYEVIEW: Comelec seems clueless about the role of political parties

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 9 July) – The Commission on Elections, watchdog of the rite of citizen sovereignty and the rubric of democracy, seems clueless about the nature, role, and function of political parties.

Its ignorance makes a mockery of our political system, doing so by allowing fake, pseudo, or make-believe parties to vie for elections—registering and accrediting them alongside real parties. In the process, they let ersatz parties dilute the functions and role of legitimate parties in our democratic system.

Not only that, in allowing contrived groups to register as Party-List representations, the Comelec cheapens the currency of political advocacy and representation in our society. Just peruse the listed groups: going over them is like reading a jumbled alphabet soup of gobbledygook and nonsense!

It even accepts alleged “party-lists” in exchange for financial consideration. Bribery! Such party-lists neither belong to a party nor are listed by one, making the term an oxymoron.


Comes now the escalating news of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s initiative of forming a new political party. It will be his vehicle for launching his bid for president in the 1916 elections.

This confirms that all the while since anyone can recall he never really had a political party worthy of the name.

Of late, dating back two elections now, he’s been sporting a political label of convenience called UNA—which stands for United Nationalist Alliance, daw, whatever that means.

Don’t even bother to ask for its bona fides. All it is is a collection of traditional politicos—trapos—with no common principles, platforms, or program of government. What holds them together is greed for public office and the powers and funds that go with it.

But it worked perfectly during the 2010 election, winning him the vice presidency. That achievement confirmed that in our system, make-believe or fakery can get you places.

One wonders what criteria the Comelec has for accrediting a political party—or indeed how it defines one!


In the present case, even before Binay forms his intended make-believe party, even before said “party” is submitted for registration—and even before it is accredited—he’s already into choosing its slate, its senatorial lineup.

What the man is doing is quite a feat, declaring the formation of a party that doesn’t even have a name, a platform, or even a set of principles and programs.

This confirms that in our system, you don’t have to state your political intentions, or indeed whether you intend to do anything at all if you aspire to the highest office of the land. You don’t have to indicate what you stand for. Just run for election, invest and spend heavily, and you win! What is that but a travesty!

But then, this formula has already worked perfectly for him in the last election. Without bothering with formalities and platforms, he just went full steam campaigning with nothing but vague notions of transmogrifying the country into a Makati—and actually won against Mar Roxas! Of course Mar Roxas didn’t bother doing any of it either. So they’re quits!


Against that background, it’s pretty clear how thoroughly wrong-headed our political system has become as a result of our putative (mis)leaders. It’s clear also how clueless we are as citizens, and how richly deserving we all are to be treated like dolts or dogs by every Jojo, Mar, or Noy with cash to fuel the bee-line to the precincts!

And have you heard the names being dangled by Jojo this early as his All-Star pick for senator? Steel-fisted Manny Pacquiao is one. Miguel Zubiri is another—he who vacated a senate seat rather than risk being exposed as a fraud.

I suppose they are his idea of intelligent, honorable, and dignified representatives for Mindanaons. It’s never too early for trapos to show their contempt for the electorate! Awash with cash and hand-outs at the ready, I guess he figures Mindanaons to be pushovers, easy pickings, in 2016, just like last time.


And talking of 2016, if we don’t watch out, a Bong might still make it. Bongbong, that is. Marcos, you know, he with impeccable parentage and credentials as far as being a plunderer and a cheat goes.

He’s even in the Honor List of whistle-blower Ben Hur Luy as one of the pork barrel scammers. But he seems undaunted; his mother is already making the rounds for his candidacy—proving yet again the power of ill-gotten wealth and shamelessness!

Awash with plundered wealth accumulated during the years his parents reigned as the Conjugal Dictatorship, bolstered by takings from his P200 million per year in Senate pork allowances, who do you think can unseat Bongbong in 2016?

Will he resurrect the KBL as his election vehicle and will the people swallow what our society vomited from the system at EDSA in 1986?

What a dire future we face. A politics that is exceedingly personality oriented, overly cash-manipulated, and shamelessly trapo-dominated, cannot possibly do honor to the nation our heroes fought and died for.

We really must learn to stop, look, and listen—earnestly! Not like railroad trains driven by the political predators and opportunists of our society.

[Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asian Publishers Association; director at Development Academy of Philippines; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Government’s Peace Panel; and PPI-UNICEF awardee for outstanding columnist. [email protected]]