The Political Crisis and "Bahala na"

The resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is relentlessly beleaguered by legitimacy and corruption issues, may just be what the country needs to immediately resolve the political crisis.

As the president is immune from any suit until after 2010, it could fast-track accountability.  It could also bring back much-needed delicadeza in public service.

But as of this time, I am still highly cautious, if not skeptical as to whether such action would truly bring about the needed reforms for the country, which, at the end of the day, should be the greater concern.

To begin with, the change of presidents within the past two decades has not really brought about the radical changes the country needs — whether the change be through polls, or by EDSA uprisings.  Patronage politics continues to rule (that is, if it has not actually worsened), and the setup of the Philippine political system still encourages politics that promotes self-interest.

We may have a new President, but a new set of elites and cronies will just come to power and force their influence in government.  And if we were to keep the exact political system, no reforms can be expected. 

Those who are active in calling for the President’s resignation have yet to offer a clear, specific agenda of political reforms.  They just want PGMA out, and that’s it, expecting that all the country’s woes will go away once that is accomplished. 

Former President Corazon Aquino has even been quoted as saying that other things will just need to be thought of later.  But having ousted two presidents in the last two decades with not much results, the country cannot afford to think of other things later.  We cannot rely on “bahala na” to save us.

Solving the political crisis means truly fixing the decaying system of politics in the Philippines.  This Presidency, while it is said to have contributed much to its decay, is also only a reflection the current degeneration.

The root of this entire political crisis and the root of the system’s decay is how conduct of polls in the country, that is still easily prone to cheating.  One is now left to wonder why those who are branding themselves as opposition, and those positioning themselves for the 2010 race are not as active in pushing for the modernization and automation of polls.  Not surprisingly, they are more busy getting themselves in sound bites that would add to their popularity.  Can this country afford a repeat of the 2004 elections, which happened to begin with, because of the way we do our polls?  Where is the automation bill now?

Has anyone bothered thinking of how to make the Presidency more accountable?  Obviously, the process of impeachment needs to be checked and reformed.  And what’s to stop another president from dangling pork barrel to lawmakers in exchange of junking impeachment?  Do we think a fourth impeachment complaint will prosper?

One’s contribution of democracy cannot be limited helping in the ouster of a president alone!  Sadly, some of these are lawmakers, who are actually in the position of crafting these reforms.  What are they doing to strengthening true democracy aside from posturing themselves for 2010?

Still, the question is, who takes the lead in these reforms, since the administration does not have too much credibility?

The opposition will need to do a lot more than rallies if it wants to gain more support.  Otherwise, many will continue to conclude that some of the loud voices heard are just posturing for 2010, which is an insult to the sincere voices calling for genuine reforms.

University of Sto. Tomas Rector Rolando dela Rosa, may have hit the bull’s eye of what many feel when he distanced himself from calls for PGMA’s ouster.   

“We delude ourselves if we think that by driving Gloria Arroyo away from Malacañang, as we did with Marcos and Erap, integrity and honesty will be restored,” dela Rosa said. “It would be simplistic and hypocritical to say the problem of our country is the President and the men and women who are behind her. This is a dangerous misunderstanding of the crisis we are facing today.”

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