THERE is this classical political thought saying that the price of men for indifference towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. And in today’s context, the price every Filipino will get for doing nothing on the affairs of our city is to be ruled by gambling lords, drug lords, smuggling lords, logging lords – a regime of evil men holding power in our government.
The greatest threat of our democracy is not about voters who do not know anything about politics but it is the indifference of the good people in stopping crimes and illegal vices penetrating into our political life. With this apathy, evil men will readily assume power by taking advantage of our weak electoral system.
Despite the ups and downs of politics in our contemporary times, democracy still has that one strong feature: it is a government of the many – of the people, by the people and for the people.
Every citizen with his powerful vote is a necessary stakeholder in nation building. Hence, open society and individual liberties are guaranteed ensuring the full engagement of the people in the discursive body politic making democratic systems more advantageous over the other political systems.
Its electoral outcome is the general will – the voice of the people which constitutes the sovereign power of our State and the legitimacy of our elected officials. This will of the citizens actualizes the promise of democracy of providing opportunities to unleash our individual energies to improve the quality of our individual life, which in totality will bring progress to the entire society.
However, there are grave threats towards the consolidation of our democracy. A government of the many with a free market economy during its transition will always be taken advantaged by the few powerful men dominating to promote their interests by abusing our popular electoral system. Literature will provide that this condition is the most formidable obstacle towards democratization and a potent way of degenerating the political morality of our city. This few are called the oligarchs and cronies monopolizing while the vast majority are in utter poverty.
Today, there is another different “few” appearing in our electoral landscapes, and they are appearing violently. They are the gambling lords, drug lords and smuggling lords which through their organized crimes and unexplainable accumulation of wealth which they got not through honest and hard work has the capacity to dominate our government to pursue their illegal vices in large scale using governmental power, resources and authority.
Their “mafia politics” instills a hardcore policy of silence which they are used to through years of illegal activities. They loath speaking to the public about governance, disregard public debates on serious political issues, and will popularize anti-establishment and anti-intellectualism during electoral campaign to the discontented electorate.
The platform for them to be elected are like dark alleys where vices and crimes are transacted and committed, and the only machine that they will solely rely upon to communicate their message is their illegal money never the wisdom to lead. In this phenomenon, a “Mafioso” silencing the good not leaders with a vision will be elected.
Once elected to power, its organized crime will penetrate every office in our government, and the consequences will be lasting and irreversible. To go back to the state of good politics would then be impossible. This already happens in cities around the world which yielded to gambling politics, mafia-politics and narco-politics, and it is totally impossible for them to return to their previous open society.
The most rational way to ultimately stop this “Mafia politics” from holding power in our city is to have vibrant civil societies upholding the value of grassroots deliberations on serious political issues. The academe, religious, media and other civil societies must have an all-embracing outreach efforts of including those in the peripheries in public deliberations on governance. They must also lay down the ground for grassroots dissent where people are freely exchanging ideas for good governance. The deliberative society at the community level formed by the good people will create a well-informed electorate. Otherwise, if they will do nothing, ‘mafia politicians’ will buy the votes of the discontented electorate to build an empire in our city founded on illegal gambling and drugs.