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Political dysfunction

By Erik Espina

IN previous columns, I cited this present Constitution as one which gained forced observance by “vitiated consent” from the Filipino people. The circumstances akin to, once upon a time, the 1973 Charter “approved” under the martial regime of a shot-gun wedding. Yellow die-hards argue, EDSA People Power provided no alternative for the Cory presidency but a revolutionary government (rev gov).

I can only wave a finger with admonition to read history, e.g. Sergio Osmeña Sr., returning to a war-ravaged country unmindful of advisers with naughty political mindsets – declaring a rev gov, martial law, emergency powers, appointing a chorus for Charter change etc. Osmeña reconvened the interrupted 1935 Constitution and Congress after the war.

Both Constitutions, siblings to the KALIBAPI-inspired document. After 31 years under the Cory Constitution, the political dysfunction of the martial law over-stay and the climate of over-reaction post-EDSA reared a country spiraling with systemic anomalies. Most obvious was the excited introduction of the multi-party system with sectoral-list in tow, and downgraded poll-watchers to safeguard elections and in a presidential system.

“Term limits,” when previously there was none, created the very monster it wanted to exorcise – a musical chair of family names at the local level simultaneous national positions traversing corridors of incumbency. The greatest harm is the deterioration of the party system. What should be public servants committed to a program of values and principles, a vision via a platform of government, consensus building, and recruiter/vetting of talented, outstanding, and brilliant political leaders in a two-party system.

The dysfunction manifest in the quality of politicians produced because of compromised standards: Popularity, huge money chest, and “media-tization” of our political system etc. Our parties are a celebration of self-interest and power – a “birthday party.” Political butterflies, no longer limited to a few, but droves jumping ship, conveniently joining every incumbent administration etc., etc.