Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

IN a world of changes, some things refuse to change. One is the tru­ism that “power cor­rupts and ab­so­lute power cor­rupts ab­so­lutely.” As long as hu­man na­ture is hu­man na­ture ab­so­lute power re­mains a nearly ir­re­sistible temp­ta­tion to greed and cor­rup­tion to even the best of the hu­man species.

That is why I am not down on RevGov (Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Gov­ern­ment) that some are push­ing. It’s too risky. I suf­fered enough in my night­mar­ish days and nights in a dic­ta­tor’s “safe house” to risk re­duc­ing our na­tion’s al­ready mea­ger demo­cratic space the way I think a RevGov def­i­nitely would.

It is fraught with risk be­cause in­sti­tut­ing re­forms in our ad­mit­tedly frag­ile democ­racy by au­thor­i­tar­ian or non-demo­cratic means is an oxy­moron. It’s like perk­ing up a lethar­gic horse by fir­ing a bul­let to its head. The dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos killed democ­racy the mo­ment he de­clared the Mar­tial Law he wanted to save it with.

I think I know what place pro RevGov peo­ple are com­ing from. Tra­di­tional oli­garchs are bit­terly re­sist­ing Pres­i­dent Duterte’s at­tacks on their pre­vi­ously im­preg­nable politico-eco­nomic cas­tles. RevGov ad­vo­cates fear here the po­ten­tial of a vi­o­lent re­ac­tion from a peo­ple that have long been held in bondage by tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal lords (tyrants re­ally) hid­ing be­hind mock demo­cratic façades. Their fear is not un­founded.

His­tory has con­sis­tently shown that a suf­fer­ing ma­jor­ity even­tu­ally reaches the end of its rope and goes up in arms against the rul­ing elite that keep it eco­nom­i­cally and po­lit­i­cally de­prived. In fact, the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines pins its hopes of win­ning the pro­tracted war in the coun­try­side on this his­tor­i­cally-proven even­tual sce­nario.

Pro RevGov peo­ple would seem to see Duterte’s pop­ulist agenda as a way out of the vi­o­lent revo­lu­tion the Com­mu­nist Party is work­ing on. Hence, they egg him on to push Fed­er­al­ism and his whole pop­ulist agenda faster by ac­quir­ing the ab­so­lute pow­ers of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary gov­ern­ment.

I know the Pres­i­dent well enough per­son­ally to trust him with what he is do­ing, though not nec­es­sar­ily with how he is do­ing it. But still, the long and short of what is eas­ily the year’s un­der­state­ment is that he is no an­gel. Hence, giv­ing him ab­so­lute power is risky. Only a drawn-out cul­tural revo­lu­tion can put us on the road to po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity.

To shift to fed­er­al­ism be­fore em­bark­ing on such a revo­lu­tion is al­ready a risky short cut. A rev­o­lu­tion­ary gov­ern­ment push­ing fed­er­al­ism is even a riskier cut.

I sug­gest we move to­wards Fed­er­al­ism as demo­crat­i­cally as we pos­si­bly can. Let’s make as the first steps in our cul­tural revo­lu­tion what­ever fresh and lib­er­at­ing politico-philo­soph­i­cal in­sights we gain as we weigh the pros and cons of fed­er­al­ism.

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