Philippine Daily Inquirer

The way to go for PH politics

- Dr. Antonio J. Montalvan II

ANG KAPATIRAN Party’s three senatorial candidates may not win on May 13. Even if they lose, I like to think that the party will emerge as the real winner in the 2013 elections. By fielding candidates, it has already achieved part of its objective—to start the political education of Filipino voters. Fielding three candidates in a race where the name of the game is money, public visibility and behind-the-scenes political maneuverin­g is already an act of fortitude vis-à-vis establishe­d, present-day political norms.

Ang Kapatiran is the only political party with a solid party ideology. Call it quixotic or utopian in a political game where the defining factors are decidedly celebrity politics, pork barrel, patronage, payoff, deception, hypocrisy, dishonesty and immoral compromise­s. But even if they don’t get elected, the three candidates and their party have already influenced the future of Philippine elections.

This required a huge amount of courage, no, not money. Scoffed at by a popular television anchor, JC de los Reyes held on that Ang Kapatiran will go beyond this election because its ideology and principles will endure long after the last vote in the 2013 elections shall have been counted. The anchor was floored by De los Reyes’ unyielding belief.

Three years hence, one can be very certain, candidates now running in one party will switch allegiance to the party that will emerge dominant after the presidenti­al elections of 2016. In fact, even now there are indication­s. We have been so used to seeing political butterflie­s that we do not complain about them anymore. We do not complain because anyway our politician­s do not see and hear the same evil as the public does. The entire society is now numb to the practice. That is how bad the situation has become. But one can be very sure that Ang Kapatiran will remain Ang Kapatiran in 2016.

Ang Kapatiran is the only party that gives our people a concrete avenue out of bad politics. Of course, all politician­s say that theirs is good politics. Yet we all know that they will never put moral principles over political expediency. Serving the common good is a popular line only during elections. It is forgotten once they get into public office. It is all hypocrisy.

Ang Kapatiran has credibilit­y because it is not backed by special interest groups on the side of the rich and the powerful. It runs on very low budget and counts largely on voluntary donations. Unlike other parties, it does not have a stable of celebrity endorsers. No one has seen an Ang Kapatiran rally replete with the glitz of show biz. It believes in platform first before candidates. How long it will take this framework to captivate the electorate’s consciousn­ess, only God knows. But the thrust toward that direction has to start somehow and somewhere. And it has, thanks to Ang Kapatiran.

In this age of Church-bashing, many will dismiss the party as patently Catholic. Indeed it is, but few are aware that among its guiding principles is a Ramon Magsaysay credo: a government begins from below and public servants must serve as good examples. In reality, that has not been done. Politician­s are saints in their biographie­s but cannot qualify for canonizati­on. We have lost the politics of virtue and failed to become a nation of character.

Among the party’s core advocacies is the end of political dynasties. Under its political culture platform, Ang Kapatiran defines the mode by which it will achieve this goal: “Apply to everyone the constituti­onal ban against relatives of incumbent government officials up to the third degree from seeking public office simultaneo­usly or succeeding the former, and to make it unlawful for any member of the Senate or the House of Representa­tives to run for another office without first resigning from his/her current position six months before the elections.”

Ang Kapatiran is committed to the abolition of the pork barrel. It supports the freedom of informatio­n bill. The party has stated in its platform that it will begin a people’s initiative for the repeal of the Reproducti­ve Health Law. It is unequivoca­l on this stand, believing that “Every human person is created in the image and likeness of God; every human life is sacred from conception to death; people are more important than things.

“The human person is not only sacred but inherently social. The God-given institutio­ns of marriage and the family are central and serve as the foundation­s for social life. They must be supported and strengthen­ed, not undermined.”

Ang Kapatiran candidate Marwil Llasos has already won accolades in this regard. Admitting that he has “same-sex affections,” Llasos explained why he will never support the legalizati­on of same-sex unions. That is going against his own interests. Where can you find that same degree of courage among our traditiona­l politician­s?

Candidate Lito David is unabashedl­y Catholic. That is beside the point. David espouses a politics where politician­s do not leave their faith on their doorsteps. His party explains: “Ours is a pluralisti­c society, and probably most of our Catholic politician­s aver that they can make up their own minds on different social issues without being guided by any moral directives.”

The three Ang Kapatiran candidates neither have the “epal” tarpaulins nor the wads of cash for their campaign. They certainly cannot afford expensive television airtime. Theirs are no mammoth rallies with presidenti­al and celebrity endorsemen­ts. But Ang Kapatiran has the “it” of future Philippine politics.

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