The deterioration of political parties in the Philippines

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 13, 2016 - 9:00am

The reason why, in our country today, there is no real difference between and among political groups (which have the gall to call themselves parties), is the blatant truth that they do not have any ideology. They are not based on specific principles. They are not bound by a shared vision, nor are their adherents intertwined by identified values. The sad, if embarrassing fact is that they are built around personalities. The Philippine political system suffers in comparison to that in US of A where people know by heart what the Republicans or GOP stands for and what are the ideologies of the Democrats. In the Philippines, any barangay tanod can create and register his own political party, never mind if it is as rag tag as it is quixotic.

There used to be the making of real party system in the Philippines during the days of the true Nacionalista Party of Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. and the genuine Liberal Party of Don Manuel Acuna Roxas. The people then were not as techno-savvy as today, but they used to have sound and principled political stand. They did not shift party affiliations in the drop of a hat. They were loyal men and women of stable faith and fidelity to the core principles of the NP and LP, respectively. The NPs were the leaders who espoused nationalism over internationalism, who insisted on protecting our national heritage and national patrimony. The LPs were for the opening of our economy to foreign investors and traders.

In the US, when you talk of the Republicans, you think of political leaders who want a smaller government with lesser taxes and with no subsidy for those who do not work hard. They want the market forces to be left alone, and would insist that the government should not tinker with the law of supply and demand. The Democrats are the complete opposite. They are the leaders who want to collect more taxes because they fund many social services and welfare activities. They care for the jobless, the sick, the seniors, the veterans and marginalized sectors. Thus, it usually believed that the Democrats are pro-labor while the GOP is pro-management.

Today, however, in our country, we can no longer tell the difference between today's NP and the LP of today. In fact, they are both members of the president's coalition government. The Villars who purchased the Mandaluyong ancestral house of the NP Laurels also acquired leadership or stewardship of the great Nacionalista Party. I do not recall any of the grandsons of Don Sergio (neither Senator Sonny nor Senator Serge not former mayor and Representative Tomas) having become card-bearing NP members as it is constituted and led today. And perhaps, rightly so, for the NP today does not have single scintillia of kinship with the NP of Don Sergio.

The LP today of Manuel Araneta Roxas is definitely not the LP of his grandfather, Don Manolo Acuna Roxas. It is not the LP of Mar's late dad, senator Gerry Roxas. It is not the LP of Mar's late brother congressman Dinggoy. The LP nowadays is not even the LP of Ninoy Aquino and of the late Serging Osmeña, and the young Turks like Monching Mitra. This an entirely different political animal led by such upstarts who, with due respect, might not have read even the original constitution and by-laws of the party that was founded in the forties and the early blossomed in the fifties and sixties. Until the KBL destroyed both the LP and the NP.

It was the KBL of the Apo Lakay Ferdie Marcos that ''killed'' the party system in our country. The Marcoses have a lot to explain to the people how the constitutional dictator, by his unlimited powers, practically ''pulverized'' both the LP and the NP, to think that Marcos started as an LP and turned NP when President Cong Dadong Macapagal insisted on running for reelection, and FM could not wait any longer. The KBL or Kilusang Bagong Lipunan monopolized powers. But in Cebu, it led the mavericks like Hilario Davide Jr. and Marcelo B. Fernan to establish the Pusyong Bisaya. The rest is history. Today, all political parties, and we mean all, are farce and not real. They are all for political expediency and convenience. And to them, winning is what only matters most. Ideology  is inexistent. Principles are irrelevant. How sad.

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