Two party system, anyone?

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

The way political personalities buzzed around these past few weeks demonstrates the need to go back to the system of having just two political parties. That should simplify matters. Too many parties just do not make sense more so that it is difficult to identify which one stands for what. How do we know that a politician is Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party, KBL, PDP Laban, Action Demokratiko, Lakas CMD, Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition, or others? Even some members of these parties do not know how they differ from one another. Those listed above are those main groups from among the many.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, hoping to be the proverbial early bird that catches the worm, took the first move. In the midst of reported unification talks among all parties supposedly opposed to the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte, Lacson announced that he was running for president towing along with him Senate President Vicente Sotto as his running mate. A wild theory was presented though. Few opinion makers surmised that the Lacson move was more of a gambit designed for all opposition groups to unite. It seemed that the bait failed. In any case, I did not get what party Lacson will be running under, assuming it was necessary to unfurl a banner.

Then, Manila Mayor Francisco Moreno Domagoso, known to most as Isko Moreno, followed suit. His partner is Doc Willy Ong. In separate ways, both of them expressed what sounded to me like motherhood statements which all other candidates are also expected to say. What is the political party of the Moreno-Ong partnership? Can we distinguish its underlying philosophy from that of the Lacson-Sotto tandem?

Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao was the third person to announce his presidential bid. True to his reputation as having among boxing’s fastest hands, he became the first one to file his Certificate of Candidacy for president to beat everyone else. How I wish I could have read his party’s political philosophy in order to be able to compare it with the others like, say, the Liberal Party?

In times past, there were only the Nationalista Party and the Liberal Party. These were the national groupings I knew that contested every position available. When I was seven years old, Garcia got elected president under the Nacionalista Party. That was 1957. As was Marcos in 1965 and 1969. Diosdado Macapagal was voted president in 1961 as the candidate of the Liberal Party. The political philosophies differed. Their candidates for president knew their partymates down to the councilor level if not by their names but by their political thought. On the other hand, each member knew what stand his group had in almost all issues. All voters had ideas what the candidates espoused because the latter simply echoed the lines of their parties.

Today, we have a mighty different story. A potential candidate is not known by the creed of his party. It is even possible that he has joined the group not because its ideology is what his mind postulates. He hitches his fate to the party because it is most convenient for him to do so. In that situation, the electors too have to pick the candidates’ mind if only to be able to vote intelligently. It would have been otherwise if the political party where he is a part of is, as in decades back, known to him.

If there are two sides of a coin, most social issues also have two sides. The spousal of major social issues by two opposing parties can already distill what is good for the country. Let us go back to the two party system that worked for us a long time ago.


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