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Birthday parties

IT is the season for political merry-go-round once again. That appointed time in the aftermath of every election when the smarter politicians, with the virus archipelagic, decide to jump ship – like rats in a sinking ship – and wade their way in the waters to join the new party in power. This is in order to continue partaking of the spoils, benefiting from the fortunes up for distribution in every incoming Administration’s victory. Of course, the bigger the landslide, the more “super” the coalition. Compare that to the tired lexicon of “rainbow coalition”. This is practical politics 101. Talk about personal honor? Principles? Party pledges? And loyalty to party? That was then.

The era of the pre-war and World War II intellectuals and giants of Philippine politics. Today, politicians prattle feigning country and public service. A cursory mime they have memorized even in their sleep to veil what is actually about a voracious appetite for power, predation, and a personal celebration to one’s ability to “win at all cost”.

And when asked why the easy participation in a “rigodon”, or game of musical chairs, there is an excuse conveniently crafted for breaking with political oaths, ethics, and parting company with yesterday’s losers. And it is coated with good intention and patriotism. Besides, the utilitarian thinking today is, statesmen finish last. Who wants to wait his turn and be last? It is the way it is. Party Politics in the Philippines under the present Multi-Party System is dead. A failed experiment of bleeding hearts/ideologues to equalize the playing field and open the opportunity to “street parliamentarians”, “interest groups”, “NGOs”, etc. because the commissioners of the 1987 Constitution were too myopic to realize under a Two Party System, leaders and parties to survive and win, must have the ability for: 1) consensus building, requiring the wearing of several hats; 2) adopting a reform agenda current to address new problems; 3) vetting young blood for future leadership; 4) re-calibrating party platforms as competitive edge vs. an opposing political party etc. What we toast in these times are Birthday Parties. A celebration to self and mercenary politics. (Erik Espina)

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