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!
DOJ Drops Charges vs Two Massacre Suspects
Mga aktibistang nagpapahayag laban sa makapangyarihang Ampatuan sa labas ng Department of Justice sa Maynila, Pilipinas sa Linggo, Abril 18, 2010. Ang mga Kagawaran ng Hustisya ay nagpapawang-sala sa pagpatay ng dalawang magkapatid na Ampatuan, dating gobernador Zaldy at Akhmad, na inakusahan ng pagpatay ng 57 kalaban sa pulitika at mamamahayag.
By JIM GOMEZ, Associated Press Writer
MANILA, Philippines– The Philippines’ Department of Justice has dropped murder charges against two members of a warlord clan accused in the massacre of 57 political rivals and journalists, sparking protests Sunday and bringing relatives of the victims to tears.
The Nov. 23 slaughter, which was condemned by the international community, was unprecedented even in a country known for election violence and political killings that have claimed hundreds of lives in the past decade.
Among the dead were more than 30 journalists and their staff — the deadliest known attack on media workers in the world. The killings elevated the Philippines to the top of a list of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.
At least 198 suspects have been charged in court with multiple murder, including members of the powerful Ampatuan clan that has ruled over southern Maguindanao province for years. Several more suspects remain at large.
The Ampatuans have been close political allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for years, helping her win elections in 2004.
Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said he has ordered prosecutors to remove the names of Zaldy Ampatuan, a former governor of a Muslim autonomous region, and his brother-in-law Akhmad from the charge sheets for lack of strong evidence linking them to the planning and staging of the carnage in Maguindanao’s Ampatuan township.
“There is no evidence to prove conspiracy and there is evidence to support their alibi,” Agra told The Associated Press.
Zaldy Ampatuan provided cell phone bills and airline tickets showing he was not at a Nov. 22 meeting where the killings were allegedly planned, or at the crime scene the next day, Agra said. Akhmad presented witnesses and pictures showing he was at a medical mission when the killings occurred, he said.
However, Agra rejected petitions from the principal suspect, former Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., and his father, Andal Ampatuan Sr., to be cleared of the murder charges. Witnesses have testified seeing Andal Ampatuan Jr. leading gunmen in killing the unarmed victims as they pleaded for their lives.
Prosecutors have filed murder charges against the Ampatuans in a Quezon City court. The justice secretary must ask the court to approve his decision to drop charges against Zaldy and Akhmad.
Several relatives of the victims wept after learning of Agra’s decision, according to Harry Roque, a lawyer for the victims, adding that they plan to appeal the ruling.
“They wept not only for this injustice but also out of fear for their safety,” Roque said. “They cannot sleep now that the Ampatuans are being cleared.”
Several student activists protested outside the Department of Justice, carrying placards that called Arroyo and the department “coddlers of murderers.”
A media watchdog, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, blamed Arroyo and Agra “for this massacre of … justice, the rule of law, our basic rights and democracy.”
The indictment says the clan leaders conspired to ambush and kill members of the rival Mangudadatu family and their supporters, who were gunned down on a hilltop in Maguindanao. The attack apparently was aimed at preventing a Mangudadatu politician from challenging the Ampatuans’ control of the province in a gubernatorial election in next month.
The Ampatuans have denied the charges, and most of their armed followers have fled a massive crackdown in the province, about 560 miles (900 kilometers) south of Manila. Thousands of militiamen loyal to the clan are still in hiding, triggering sporadic clashes with government troops.
Last month, another court dismissed separate rebellion charges against the Ampatuan patriarch, four of his sons and several followers for lack of evidence. They had been accused of plotting an uprising after the government launched a crackdown on the clan when it was linked to the killings.
**Resigned Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera received death threats during her incumbency.
**Alberto Agra served as the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo laywer during impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives in 2006.
**The Ampatuans are close political allies of PGMA.
We Filipinos are not as ‘tanga’ as they think we are! The innocence of these two suspects must be tried and decided by the courts of law and not by an office under the President. As I strongly condemned the Maguindanao Massacre, I likewise strongly condemned the Department of Justice for this move.
“There is no evidence to prove conspiracy and there is evidence to support their alibi,” Agra told The Associated Press but “Witnesses have testified seeing Andal Ampatuan Jr. leading gunmen in killing the unarmed victims as they pleaded for their lives.” Where are the testimonies of these witnesses? Are they gone with Devanadera?
It can not be denied that the world in which we live has undergone drastic changes, and the most significant of them is the so-called global warming. Some attributed it to the end of the Mayan long count calendar which will take effect Dececemder 21, 2012, winter solstice of that year. It is said that a global catastrophe will happen on that day. Planet-x (is it the Nibiru of ancient Babylonians?) will collide with our planet. Polar reversion will take place causing floods and earthquake of great magnitude, and many more, (Incidentally, the winter solstice for this year is today, December 21.)
Some see it in a biblical point of view saying it is the sign of the wrath as stated in Revelation 6:1-17.
Whatever it is, one thing is sure. The cause of the changes in our climate is largely caused by excessive greenhouse-gas emissions from highly industrialized countries thus triggering global warming. That is why delegations from 193 nations gathered in Copenhagen last December 7-16 aiming to reach a new global agreement on climate change.