CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/17 August) — Now that the Supreme Court has ruled to rid our political system of the gratuitous grants of pork and its abuse, let us also liberate politics from the clutches of self-indulgent dynasties—and their abuses!
One favor deserves another.
State policy behooves us to do away with political dynasties (Constitution, Article II, Section 26)—in order to guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service.
It will also rid our system of the antiquated values and selfishness of feudal-minded families that reserve for themselves the privileges of high office.
To rid our system of selfish ruling families will provide a refreshing symmetry to the workings of our democracy.
It will free society from the evils of money-politics and liberate entire communities from the mindless greed and dominance of dynastic officeholders.
The result will be a state of equilibrium in which interplay of ideas concerning development and nation-building will be the principal preoccupation of politics.
Crass opportunism will then be less dominant as greater opportunities for public service open up and induce a fresh flowering of our democracy.
Freed of the abuses, dishonesty, and unfair practices of our pork-corrupted past, we can expect greater fairness in the electoral playing field.
Then perhaps it will be possible for an idealist to dream of statesmanship or embark on an honorable pursuit of political power.
Under such conditions, denouncing or prosecuting dishonesty and misconduct will take up less of the state’s time and energy, allowing more attention to the forging of national solidarity.
With greater focus on the goodness, idealism, and potential of every citizen, the conditions for them to achieve and to shine will advance pride of self, of community or neighborhood, of nationhood.
We may then rediscover the good, the beautiful, and the unique in our society and culture.
Perhaps we might even inspire the world once again, as we did at EDSA in February 1986, with our sterling values of bayanihan and pakikipagkapwatao. And as we do, we can proceed confidently to a kinder, more egalitarian future.
But this will not happen unless we clean up the House of Congress and the rest of the bureaucracy first.
So it is for us now to take stock of the kind of officials that are in power, to mark the good and the bad, to sift them, to be sure that the unfit and the dynasty-oriented will be winnowed out in 2016.
Surely it will be a difficult and delicate task, given our society’s long tolerance of pork and the dynastic practices it spawned—which greatly encouraged corrupt, ambitious, and incompetent but very wealthy people to seek never-ending office.
With their overflowing campaign chests—copiously amassed over years of pork abundance—dislodging these offensive dynasties will be quite a task.
Already, 73 of our 80 provinces have adapted to politics as virtual family enterprises. The dynasts will certainly fight with tooth and nail to retain what has become a livelihood for them, or an heirloom to be passed on to family or clan.
Moreover, political office has become particularly attractive to ambitious military types, coup plotters, insurgents, and rebel front organizations in search of more lucrative careers and rich rewards.
Would it surprise anyone, for example, that the coup plotters in the Senate and perhaps a dozen Communist front organizations in the Lower House may be re-elected or succeeded by kindred spirits? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asia Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member, Phil Permanent Mission to the U.N.; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Govt’s Peace Panel; and PPI-UNICEF awardee, most outstanding columnist. Today he is President, Gising Barangay Movement Inc [email protected])