Saturday, July 8, 2017

Opposition fails to present better alternative, possibly cause authoritarianism

The purpose of the opposition is to challenge the current government and provide solutions or alternative ideas to remedy national problems, but netizen Pinky Omac-Santiano underlines that their failure to be a better alternative will turn Philippines into an authoritarian government.

Again and again, the opposition has tried to vilify President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to better the economic and social spheres of the country by attempting to evoke Martial Law, impeach Duterte, and link extrajudicial killings to the anti-drug war.

The opposition is not merely against Duterte’s plans, but they have become against the people also. Duterte’s major decisions on the Philippines has received warm support from his people, thus, it is invalid for the opposition to take away someone whom the people admire.

By going against the will of the public, the opposition has risked their position in future elections and traded on possible causes for an authoritative Philippines which would also be a disadvantage to them.

In Santiano’s full post on Facebook, she said,

"The Opposition’s Failure; a perfect recipe for the country’s slide to Authoritarianism

After one year into the Presidency there is no doubt that Duterte has already started in breaking the backbone of the oligarch-controlled system of government and has introduced drastic reforms in all facets of governance and politics in this country. His remarkable achievements in addressing the needs of the poor and the clear direction where the country is heading to will bear him out. But the opposition sees otherwise. They rated the Duterte administration as a dismal failure and the more abhorrent of all, is the comment of Cong. Lagman, an LP stalwart, who claimed that Duterte has done nothing at all after one year of governance which view is of course, shared by Trillanes and the rest of his minions in the opposition.

How about rating the opposition as to its performance after one year under the Duterte presidency? What has it accomplished? In my earlier piece, I shared the view that the country’s political opposition plays an equally important role in shaping the country’s destiny and future. Their principal role is to put the Duterte government in constant check for excesses and to make sure that the voice of the minority is not trampled upon. In some ways, it is considered as the “government in waiting,” ready to take on the reins of power should the people decide to take it back from Digong. It’s main duty is to oppose, meaning, they are not with Duterte but they are marching in parallel with the administration offering better ways of getting to the direction where the majority of the Filipino people want us to be. But what has the opposition done so far?

They attempted to shoot down the Mindanao Martial Law which is an act of going against the will of the people who supported it. Both Congress and SC affirmed it along with various stakeholders. They tried to stop the drug war program of the government on the pretext that the drug problem of the country is only hyped by Duterte and that our drug addiction problem is not at all that bad. They highlighted the killings of drug addicts, pushers and drug lords as human rights violations and maneuvered to involve the international community in castigating Duterte for this war on drugs. In the process, they shamed this country before the world and the eyes the fuming Filipino public. They tried to impeach Duterte to remove him as President who continuously enjoyed massive support from the Filipino people.

The above “accomplishments” are just few among the major blunders committed by the opposition which only point to one thing – that the current opposition has been consistent in going against the will of the people and that of the government. They are trying to pull the government down, thereby preventing it from taking off to the detriment of the interest of the people. They have been engaged in political assassination, destabilization and all forms of demonic machinations to paint that the Duterte government is evil and therefore should be removed. But with all candor, has the opposition portrayed itself as a better alternative to the Duterte government? Have they offered something better than what the Duterte administration is doing? And more importantly, are they united as a minority voice which is capable of taking over the government should they be given the opportunity by the people? We see how the people pushed aside the opposition every time they attacked this government. And that to me, is the ultimate basis in judging at how they performed their role as the political opposition. They have not convinced the public that they are the better alternative to the Duterte government and have miserably failed to espouse any programs they think can bring this country to a much better place than the direction where Duterte is bringing us now. Yes! The opposition of this country is a grave disappointment and a massive failure one year after Digong became President!

Unlike the Marxist ideologues, the “utopia” which Duterte has promised during the campaign is within reach, albeit an uphill one. And what makes it reachable is the unconditional support accorded by the public to this government which never happened in the past administrations. However, the barricades on our journey towards change are insurmountable and the problems are systemic. We have to note the fact that the present constitution came about as a result of the EDSA people power which reflects the people’s anti-marcos sentiment and the stigma of dictatorship embedded with it. This constitution gave the opportunity for the country’s oligarchs and political opportunists to position themselves in the core of the political system along with the powers that be and for 30 years, they danced away with the political elites, the corrupt and plunderers which gave the people nothing but abject misery and false hopes. Clearly, this constitution has become obsolete and therefore should be changed to reflect the real sentiments of the Filipinos in the present times and rid this country of all the blockades towards reform. But the oligarchs and political opportunists are hell bent on keeping the system which benefitted them for the last 3 decades. In cahoots with the political opposition, they are using the weakness of the current system in their favor and in trying to stop every effort initiated by the government for change.

It should be noted that it was the people who pushed Duterte to become President. Duterte just heeded the desperate clamor of the masses for him to be in the forefront in their battle for change. Hence, given the problems faced by the Duterte administration in fighting off the oligarch’s grip on governance and its resistance on reforms, the Filipino people’s drive for it is being stymied. Digong’s aggressive stance in the face of all these challenges has all the more cemented the people’s trust in him. This explains the massive support he got when he declared Mindanao Martial Law despite the anti-Marcos and Martial law scare tactic employed by the opposition. The SC decision upholding the constitutionality of ML in Mindanao serves as a fatal blow to both the image and cause of the opposition as well as all Duterte critiques. This experience should send a strong signal to the opposition on the implied acquiescence given by the Filipino people to Duterte to rule the country with iron fist. The people are resigned to the fact that with the current weak system being exploited by the opposition and oligarchs in blocking the reforms sought by the people, the better way is to give Digong that needed full blanket authority to destroy the system by force and replace it with the one desired by the people. Given this, the opposition is now placed in a dilemma on which direction to take in attacking the administration. If they persevere in its current destabilizing strategy with the help of the reds and other extreme leftist groups including rightists with fascist tendencies like the Magdalo Group and others in the country’s wide political spectrum, the patience of the masses may wear out, such that if Digong decides to put the entire country under Martial Law, he will have their backing along with the military, the police and Congress. That scenario will give this administration the free hand to run after the corrupt, the criminals, saboteurs nationwide and initiate a process of cleansing within the system. And if the opposition succeeds in blocking Martial Law via the Supreme Court intervention, the people may refuse to be stymied anymore and they may push Duterte to go further by declaring a revolutionary government. This is a short-cut on the road to change. There is no more congress and judiciary to speak of. It’s only Duterte and the Filipino people running the show. Under this government, Digong will have the full blanket authority to annihilate once and for all, the pests in this country, set up a new constitution via concon or on whatever manner, putting this country under a federal system of government and accommodate all issues and concerns of the moro rebels in Mindanao and other groups without nay hurdles and call for new elections thereafter. Thus, before his term ends (after 5 years), we have cleaned up this mess, and a new constitution is in place post people’s ratification, and hold elections under a new federal system of government thereafter. This is the likely track which the opposition may give to Duterte like a manna from heaven if they continue with their destabilization schemes. Of course, such scenario entails resistance and blood maybe shed in the process. But if this is what the Filipino people want, so be it!

This is an option that is on Duterte’s plate. Time and again, he categorically stated that he refuses to thread this track out of his respect for the rule of law and our constitution. But as people’s patience ran out, it would be likely that he will take on this option, if situations pushed him further against the wall. How do we avert such scenario from happening? The answer lies on the kind of opposition we have in this country which has been reneging on its role as such. The Liberal Party which professes to be the leading face of the opposition has an identity problem. In the lower house for instance, the Liberal party supports the administration. The opposition in this chamber is the Lakas – NUCD Party of GMA. Lagman, Baguilat and the rest of the noisy politicians in the lower house are not members of the minority. They are acting like political assassins in their individual capacities who readily bark against every government initiated legislative measures. In the upper chamber, LP takes on the role of the minority with only Pangilinan, Drillon, Aquino and De Lima as members. Trillanes is from Magdalo while Hontiveros is from Akbayan. But both joined LP to comprise the opposition in the upper chamber out of convenience. Clearly, LP is acting like a political whore who prostituted itself in the lower house in exchange for powers while masquerading as opposition leader in the upper chamber after being kicked out from the majority. Then there is this image problem of the opposition. Trillanes has been acting more of a political mad dog than as a Senator. He has become a disgraced member of the Senate as an institution and having him in the opposition becomes more of a liability than being an asset. Then we have De Lima who is considered as politically rotten vegetable for her likely long stay in jail on drug charges. Her political career is dead. Bam Aquino is as useless as Risa Hontiveros in the Senate for exposing their ignorance on vital issues besetting the country. The remaining members of the opposition (Drillon and Pangilinan) are full blooded yellows and are not expected to work with the Duterte government as opposition. They will always try to remove Duterte from the government.

Given this scenario, the Liberal Party, being an opposition, is placed in an extremely difficult bind. If it continues with its destabilizing strategy of removing Duterte, this might cause the slide of the country to authoritarian rule which will be fatal to their group as opposition. This is idiocy. On the other hand, allowing the Duterte government to take off while intensifying their campaign of educating the masses that LP’s version of governance is the better alternative than what Duterte offers, may give them the chance to snatch the power 5 years from now, during the next Presidential elections. But with the way LP has self-inflicted damage on its reputation and with all the unique characters and scandals involved on its group, this option is more of stupidity for them. So the choice is theirs to make – to be an idiot or be stupid. In either way, there is no stopping for the people’s march towards reforms, be it within the constitutional framework or the authoritarian rule option.

For the rest of the Filipino politicians, it is a shame that you allowed LP to ruin the noble role of a political opposition in our country’s politics under the Duterte government. It’s about time that decent political groups will come forward and take on the cudgel for the real opposition in performing such role as to oppose the Duterte government without pulling it down. The country needs a political group to constructively put this government in constant check while offering the masses an alternative route to where the majority of the Filipino people want to go. It should go in the same track, albeit on a different mode, but in no way it tries to pull the country in the opposite direction as what LP is trying to do. Doing so would be a betrayal on the trust of the Filipino people and it would only invite anarchy in our society. The LP, Akbayan and Magdalo groups have inflicted more than enough damage in our country’s politics, and hence, should cease being called as the political opposition in this country. Henceforth, they should be caged as nothing like political pets which will be treated as bunch of entertainers for their nonsense posturing and comical scripts in the country’s politics. Let the real opposition replace these rotten ones in the name of change. Otherwise the continued failure of the opposition will push the Filipino people into embracing an authoritarian rule by Duterte with open arms and legs. – JA"

Source: Pinky Omac-Santiano

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