House Speaker Martin Romualdez has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Cornell University. His claim, therefore, that People’s Initiative (PI) is the “purest form of democracy” cannot possibly come from ignorance. Events surrounding it would seem to indicate it is coming from a dark corner of his mind that tricks citizens into supporting constitutional changes they don’t know would harm more than benefit them.
PI is people coming together to ask for a change in the constitution. If they are bought, the initiative no longer belongs to them but to those who buy (PIRMA?) their pirma. Democracy is rule by the majority. Even if voluntary, it is not democracy for people to ask for the constitution to be changed unilaterally according to the wishes of the minority. How much less if it is bought.
The most democratic constitutional change is through elected representatives by their respective social sectors. Moreover, if we must change the constitution, it should be to remove provisions that allow political dynasties to have a monopoly on political power. Yet the opposite seems to be what Speaker Romualdez has in mind. More than just open the economy to foreign ownership, there are signs he intends to change the form of government and thereby remove limits to the terms of office of national officials.
We have never been a true democracy because we have always been ruled by the elite. Hence, the most essential change is that which makes us a true democracy, a provision that gives representatives of a sector or sectors a fair chance of holding the reins of government. Our so-far unrepresented sectors can have a chance at participating in governance only if government is constitutionally mandated to finance the formation and operation of accredited political parties.
Once this happens and we become a two-or-three-party system our elections must now be transformed into an exercise to choose not which individual or individuals will rule us but what parties and party programs will have the most influence on government policies and programs. Nothing good can come about from our current money-denominated elections.
The poor are readily accepting payment for their pirma (signature) after being told it was ayuda (aid). It is not democracy, let alone the purest form of it, to buy people’s votes for a PI. More like pure deception, but not democracy.
Our constitution needs changing not by oligarchs but by a Constitutional Convention of duly elected people’s sectoral representatives. Also, that part of the constitution that allows a rule by the minority has to be extracted, not made worse by removing limits to terms of office.
Anyway, who will want to invest in an economy that is in the vise grip of a greedy ruling elite? Neither will a Bagong Pilipinas come about from our mock democracy. Speaker Romualdez’s PI and his cousin’s Bagong Pilipinas look like smoke screens for something that reeks of the foul odor of ambition for power. It’s pure baloney!