Break­ing a cy­cle

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

MORE im­por­tant than to loosen the op­pres­sive grip of the re­gions by Im­pe­rial Manila is for the new con­sti­tu­tion to re­form our elec­tion code and sys­tem of rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Pri­vate money should be com­pletely taken out of elec­tions (so rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the poor can win) and a sys­tem in­sti­tuted that gives the work­ing class pro­por­tion­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion in congress or par­lia­ment.

Con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy is about equal and/or pro­por­tion­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of all sec­tors in gov­ern­ment. In the cur­rent elec­tion code only the rich can win of­fice. Hence, they alone are rep­re­sented in gov­ern­ment.

If fed­er­al­iza­tion merely gives more au­ton­omy to re­gions but does not ef­fec­tively give the farmer-worker sec­tor its own voice in par­lia­ment, con­trol will sim­ply be trans­ferred from Manila-based po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties to lo­cal coun­ter­parts. Th­ese will en­joy lo­cal au­ton­omy but the lo­cal marginal­ized sec­tor will con­tinue to have no voice in gov­ern­ment, their fate de­cided by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lo­cal po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties.

That brings up the ques­tion of how shift to fed­er­al­ism, by a Con­stituent as­sem­bly (Con Ass) or by a Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion (Con Con).

With Con Ass we can­not ex­pect rep­re­sen­ta­tives of big landown­ers and big busi­ness in Congress to in­sert con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions that will put a stop to their be­ing the de facto sole rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all sec­tors of so­ci­ety.

A Con Con would not fare any bet­ter. With our crooked elec­tion sys­tem only can­di­dates fi­nanced by tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties will win seats in the Con Con. They will nat­u­rally draft a con­sti­tu­tion that would es­sen­tially keep the present bi­ased elec­tion sys­tem so as not to hurt their rich and pow­er­ful pa­trons.

I am, there­fore, not sur­prised that Congress has de­cided on Con Ass. It is the surest and least ex­pen­sive way (as they don’t have to spend for sur­ro­gates in a Con Con) for them to avoid in­ser­tions in the new con­sti­tu­tion that would hurt their priv­i­leged po­si­tion as ex­clu­sive win­ners in elec­tions and ex­clu­sive rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all sec­tors of Philip­pine so­ci­ety.

I wrote ear­lier of be­ing wary of a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Gov­ern­ment (Rev Gov). But now I can see where it could be com­ing from. It might be the only peace­ful non-con­sti­tu­tional way to give the marginal­ized sec­tors a chance to run and win in elec­tions and thus have their very own rep­re­sen­ta­tives in gov­ern­ment. Nei­ther Con Ass nor Con Con is ex­pected to do this for them.

I write this with a fer­vent hope that Con Ass would prove me wrong be­cause if it fails, the only other way, be­sides Rev Gov, to break the vi­cious cy­cle of peo­ple’s pow­er­less­ness is an armed revo­lu­tion. And who knows what des­per­ate peo­ple are ca­pa­ble of? Con Ass had bet­ter chew that one.

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