Carvajal: Wrong mistake

Break Point

HE COULD be right. If a political patriarch can have as many terms in office as he wants, i.e. without term limits, he would have no need to get his wife, son or daughter to run in between terms, which is how dynasties are born.

But the trouble with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s idea is it solves the wrong problem. You could also say it corrects the wrong mistake. Take political dynasties out and the country will still be run by the rich and privileged minority as it has always been since Independence Day or since Andres Bonifacio was violently taken out of the country’s political scene by... whoever.

And that’s our problem, the worker-farmer sector’s lack of proportionate representation in the affairs of state. The majority of Filipinos is in this sector and, not to forget, majority rule is not peripheral but essential to the representative democracy we wrongly think we have.

Our problem is we have always been ruled by the minority. The worker-farmer sector, the nation’s majority, was never given a fair chance at building a political party that would carry their voice and promote their interests in the decision-making halls of government.

It’s like if we were England we would be run only by Tories because there is no Labor party. Or if we were the U.S.A, we would be run only by Republicans because a Democratic Party does not exist.

We need charter change but the lifting of term limits will not transform us into a truly democratic country where all sectors of society are proportionately represented in government and majority rules.

What will make us truly democratic is a genuine party system where two or three parties representing distinct social sectors and espousing distinct social philosophies and programs of government are certified as public institutions whose activities (educating members and campaigning for elections) are funded equally across the board by the government.

To take individual wealth out of the equation, under this system no individual or independent candidate should be allowed to run. The electorate should vote for parties and their programs, the winning party deciding internally who in their list of members will take the seats the party has won, as in a genuine party-list system.

Transparency is assured because the votes of the contending two or three parties can be quickly counted in public, without the need for expensive yet non-tamper-proof computers.

At bottom, the problem is how the majority can speak for themselves instead of being spoken for by the minority. Charter change would help only by installing essentially democratic institutions like proportionate representation and majority rule. Lifting term limits corrects the wrong mistake.


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