Political pot-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
EXACTLY week ago today, the Senate president was in Cebu City and met with some fifty-five of the city’s more than seventy barangay captains somehow stirred the political pot with his pronouncement that Congress is thinking of postponing the barangay elections to 2016, to coincide with the presidential elections.
That means extending the length of the barangay captains’ term of office to six years.
Of course, the matter is easier said than done. It would mean almost a total overhaul of our electoral processes.
Nevertheless, the point that the Senate president brought about is the matter of election cost. He said that we have too many elections, and are spending too much money on them when we could spend much less. Still, it is not so much on the cost really but the wisdom of the move.
It was reported that synchronizing the local and presidential polls would mean less cost, but will it not make the campaign quality poor? What do I mean? I remember clearly that when the multi-party system was introduced, the presidential campaign was done separately from the local elections. The purpose was to give the local aspirants freedom of choice regarding national candidates to support.
Because they were free to move from one national candidate to another under a multi-party situation, elections were far freer and less constricted.
The Senate president’s idea, while cost-saving, is actually just a step less to a return to a two-party system where the nation’s candidates are made to choose between just two political parties to join in across the country. If you do not belong to a party, you are bereft of the benefits of a party member.
As independent, you do not enjoy any assistance or help except from others independents, but without the force of law. At the precinct, a candidate who is not a party member could be miserably cheated.
The multi-party system was pushed by then senators Raul Manglapus, Manuel Manahan and Emmanuel Pelaez, and a number of congressmen and national leaders who had held cabinet posts and field jobs. They supported the new political idea because, under the two-party system, only the moneyed and well-off were able to control the political party.
Indeed, under the Senate President’s proposal (he was in Cebu last week when he made the announcement, accompanied by his son who is also planning to run for the Senate next year), he was reported to have been met with joyous applause by his audience.
With such a kind of reception, we are well on the way back to a two-party system.
So be prepared now to a return to an elitist kind of democracy, a country managed by the rich.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2012.