MAJORITY rule and proportionate representation are the absolute essentials of representative democracy. Hence, the issue is not so much how to ban a minority (political dynasties) as how to make our democratic processes inclusive of the majority, the marginalized worker-farmer sector.
The democratic vision, therefore, is a working system of free and fair elections (because the voting is secret but the counting public and transparent) where all sectors are enabled to participate both as candidates and voters. Participation is universal and the free vote of the majority wins, not the money of a minority.
In Article V (Suffrage and Political Rights), the ConCom’s (Constitutional Commission’s) draft charter proposes that instead of the whims of individuals we vote for the political philosophy, social vision and program of government of political parties.
Because we only have to choose one of two or three parties, voting is quick and secret while counting is quick and public as no computer is needed to count the votes of only two or three parties. The speed of voting and counting minimizes if not totally eliminates windows for cheating.
A political party, of course, must fulfill some critical requirements before being certified as a public institution. It must stand for a distinct political philosophy and social vision, and a program of government consistent with both philosophy and vision. Required also would be a minimum number of registered members, a code of party discipline and rules that insure a democratic process in the selection or nomination of its candidates.
With this system elections cease to be popularity contests between individuals and their whimsical 20-point blah-blahs of a program. Instead elections develop into healthy and productive dynamics between the philosophies, visions and programs of government of actively participating social sectors.
Once certified, parties become public institutions entitled to a budget from government and a share of the Democracy Fund. This will provide the middle and lower classes at least some seed money to found their own party and fund activities that promote its distinct philosophy, vision and program of government.
This is a near perfect (the system of proportionate representation still needs further refinement) democratic vision. But as one easily sees, it is light years away from today’s political reality and will take years to take root in our culture.
Nevertheless, federalism should not be rushed and people given time to study and appreciate its inclusive democratic features. Unfortunately, political dynasties are rushing for office either to kill federalism or to pass an empty shell (Arroyo’s proposal) of it.