Philippines: Politics of Popularity
Philippines: Politics of Popularity
Do you think Sen. Noynoy Aquino will win in his bid for presidency if his parents, Sen. Ninoy Aquino and Tita Cory who are now both deceased, are not popular? He will not! Politics in our country today tend to favor popularity rather than performance. It is evident in what the Liberal Party did. They fielded the more popular Noynoy for the presidency instead of Mar Roxas who is a far better senator in terms of performance. Of course, legislation is different from management; running the country as the chief executive is different from legislating laws but both require high level of performance.
In my high school days, the saying ‘I don’t care whether you like me or not as long as I’m popular’ was found in most of the slum books my classmates have. Today that adage is applied to Philippine politics. Look how Erap rated in the election polls. He scored second to Noynoy because he is popular. But is he not a convicted plunderer? A gambler? A womanizer? A good leader must be a good example to his followers. It is sad to think why this happened, but it is true; it is reality. Most of our countrymen prefer popular figures than less-known ones, they be criminals or poor performers.
How many of those who rated in the political polls are popular movie actors/actresses? Name a position and they are there: president, senator, congressman, governor down to the lowest local ones. I am not saying all of them are not capable of performing their real-life roles. As Richard Gordon observed- Lito Lapid is a better senator than Noynoy. The only thing why they have the courage to run for the position is because they are popular.
It is the same with those who ran because their fathers are popular senators/congressman. They have courage to run because of their forebears’ popularity even though they themselves have not even inscribed their names in the minds of the Filipino people. Funny, isn’t it?
Here are some examples of how popularity is being utilized:
**a mother ran for congress in a district which is/was held by her son. She won.
**a mayor/father ran as vice-mayor of his incumbent vice-mayor daughter who, in turn, ran for mayor (it the father’s last term as mayor). Both won. The daughter defeating no other than the Speaker of the House.
**a mayoralty candidate ran as governor after the gubernatorial candidate husband died during campaign period. Unluckily, she lost.
**an actor who ran as congressman who was later disqualified due to lack of residency urged his wife to run in place of him and she won.
We may seem to deviate from what we are talking about: popularity. Why? I am only trying, as much as I can, to illustrate what drove these men/women, who use popularity as one of their undeclared flatforms.
So, what these men/women are after for? First we must find the definition of politics, especially partisan one because that is what we are in. As defined in the dictionary: Partisan politics– Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power. (Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government) If the definition is right, it is POWER! That is what these men/women are going after while setting aside delicadeza.
The 70’s adage ‘I don’t care whether you like me or not as long as I’m popular’ is thriving in their minds. I only wish that, in our next political exercise, this will be lessened- and this only happen if our countrymen will become much more enlightened. Popularity of a candidate is not the gauge why he/she should be voted for. It is only PERFORMANCE and not the other way around!
Andres Bonifacio, The Great Plebeian
1. belonging or pertaining to the common people.
2. of, pertaining to, or belonging to the ancient Roman plebs.
3. common, commonplace, or vulgar: a plebeian joke.
image from library.thinkquest.org/
Today, Nov. 30 is Bonifacio Day
Many Filipino nationalists think Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution, is a greater national hero than the intellectual, physician, poet, essayist and novelist Jose Rizal. An auto-didact, Bonifacio founded the Katipunan and was its Supremo. He started the revolution against Spain, against the advice of Rizal who wanted the revolutionaries to be better trained and armed.
Bonifacio launched a nationwide revolution anyway. He called for mobilization and simultaneous raids on Spanish installations. He declared the transformation of the Katipunan into a revolutionary government, with himself as president and commander in chief of the army. He formed a Cabinet. He appointed the Katipunan military leaders as generals.
Bonifacio won battles and lost some. Until the point when there were three major centers of revolt. Cavite was under the upper-class, educated Katipunero, Emilio Aguinaldo. Bulacan was under Mariano Llanera of the skull flag. And Morong was under Andres Bonifacio. Morong consisted of the present Rizal province and most of the present Metro Manila (except the Walled City and the present city of Manila).
Magdiwang vs. Magdalo
In Cavite rebels loyal to Bonifacio belonged to the Magdiwang faction. Its chief was Mariano Alvarez, an uncle of Bonifacio’s wife, the heroine Gregoria de Jesus. Emilio Aguinaldo’s brother, Baldomero, led the rival faction, the Magdalo.
To divide and weaken the revolutionary forces, the Spaniards made a show of being more impressed with Aguinaldo. They tried to initiate peace talks with him. This was of course insulting to Bonifacio.
As Emilio Aguinaldo won victory after victory, in relatively smaller battles than those that Bonifacio fought in Manila and Morong, the enmity between the Magdalo and Magdiwang grew. The rivals did not help each other in their military campaigns. The clash so heated up as to require the Supremo to go to Cavite to mediate between the two factions.
With only a few troops, Bonifacio entered Cavite province with his wife, his brothers Procopio and Ciriaco. Aguinaldo’s superior attitude irked the Supremo. The Magdalo men were so disrespectful, in anger he nearly shot one of them, Daniel Tirona.
But Aguinaldo also resented Bonifacio for acting “as if he were a king.” The meeting to end the rivalry between the Magdalo and Magdiwang factions was held in Imus. The Magdalo people spoke of rumors, unfounded allegations and the leadership of the Katipunan itself. Soon Bonifacio found himself having to prove that he was not running the revolutionary government like a monarch, that his government was republican and democratic. He told his detractors each Katipunero, no matter how lowly his rank, had a vote equal to that of any other man.
Political trap he did not see
Bonifacio was in a political trap he did not recognize. He agreed to resolve the Magdalo-Magdiwang rivalry and the leadership issue through an election—in Tejeros, Cavite. Despite the arrogance and rudeness of Aguinaldo’s men, despite his realization that the election was not proper because there were no Katipunan members from the other provinces, despite warnings that the balloting would be rigged, the Supremo remained so confident of winning. Before voting began, he solemnly asked everyone to respect the election results gracefully. Then he presided over the election.
Of course, Bonifacio lost to Emilio Aguinaldo, who was not even there. Someone suggested that Bonifacio be made the vice president. No one seconded the motion.
The election for lesser offices continued. Mariano Trias, who was supposed to be a Magdiwang and therefore pro-Bonifacio, was elected vice president. Position by position, other officers of the revolutionary government were elected, until Bonifacio was chosen director of the Interior. Before he could be proclaimed in that position, Daniel Tirona, the man Bonifacio had almost shot days, spoke up. He said the position could not possibly be held by a non-lawyer. He then nominated a prominent lawyer for the position.
Bonifacio demanded an apology from Tirona, who turned his back to the leave the hall. Bonifacio drew his gun and was about to shot Tirona but Artemio Ricarte, another Magdiwang man, who had been elected Captain-General, stopped the ousted Supremo.
People were walking out of the hall as Bonifacio cried out: “I am the president of this assembly and as president of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan, as all of you do not deny, I declare this assembly dissolved, and I annul all that has been approved and resolved.”
That next day, President Aguinaldo took his oath of office.
The tragedy of the revolution
Bonifacio and his supporters wrote the Acta de Tejeros, denouncing the election for being fraudulent. They accused Aguinaldo of treason because he was negotiating with the Spaniards. President Aguinaldo had Bonifacio arrested, tried—and executed.
Quick Guide to the Automated Election
Here is a video on what automated election is all about:
Ang video na ito ay magpapakita kung papaano tayo boboto gamit ang PCOS o Precinct Count Optical Scan na isa sa mga features ng Automated Election na naaayon sa REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8436 na inamendahan ng Senate Bill No. 2231 (13th Congress) at pinondohan ng P11.9 billion.