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Opinion

EDITORIAL - A temporary fix

The Freeman
EDITORIAL - A temporary fix

Former president and current Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a bill proposing to ban political turncoatism, or the practice by politicians of switching parties usually before or after elections.

According to Arroyo political turncoatism “only shows the lack of ideological commitment to the members of a party because they choose parties based on the rise and fall of the tide of opportunity.”

The bill has merits. Usually what happens is after a president wins an election, politicians flock to his party, usually turning it into a one big party that has no bigger enemy than itself after interests collide. But that is politics for you.

Our Constitution protects the right of anyone, of course including politicians, the freedom to choose with whom he or she associates. That includes the choice of which political party to join. So it might be unfair to tell someone you cannot leave this group or join that group for whatever reason, be it conflict of interest or you just don’t want to be associated with losers. 

However, this bill may just be something of a temporary fix. Instead of banning political turncoatism, which is more of a symptom of something else, perhaps they should pass a law that will fix the parties themselves instead.

We understand that it is the right of anyone --or of any group of people for that matter-- to form a group that will become a political force hopefully for the benefit of the people. But right now there are just too many political parties and the distinctions between these parties --in short the principles, beliefs, and platforms they claim to espouse-- aren’t always clear.

While having many political parties can ensure that voters have many choices to choose from, this makes it easier for politicians to flit from one party to another.

This is not something easy to do. Revamping the political party system of the Philippines to make it more similar to what they have in the US --where political battle lines are clearly drawn-- will be a difficult and long process. However, it will go far in eliminating political turncoatism and once and for all determine what makes one political party --as well as its principles, beliefs, and platforms-- truly different from another.

GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO

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