WITHOUT genuine political parties, the Philippine election scene becomes one big glitter of a masquerade party. It’s literally a free-for-all for a motley lot of individuals wearing the mask of patriots wanting to serve the Filipino people when deep down where it counts all they want is capture power and its twin progenies of wealth and privilege.
The scene is a spirited effusion of honeyed promises disguised somewhat as programs that candidates know have little chance of being implemented because only a united government can implement programs and not sweet-talking individuals no matter how qualified.
Look what happened to Leni Robredo’s promised programs when she ran for vice president. She has since found a way of excusing herself from implementing them by opting out of the government that people have mandated her to be part of as vice president.
Or look at Grace Poe’s 20-point program. They were more like the wishes of an oppressed electorate that she converted into promises that she very well knew she could not fulfill because she would have to deal with government agencies not fully under her control even as president. Look what Duterte has to put up with in trying to fulfill his promises.
Only authentic political parties can rally a government around a rationalized and well laid out program of government. Individuals will always go for short-term projects or, what is even worse, for unrelated activities that they think will help secure a re-election. Individuals will also be corrupt in order to recover the private money they used for their election. Authentic political parties are public institutions whose activities, including election campaigns, are funded by the government. Also, mature political parties can prevent corruption with their internal code of discipline.
If one examined closely the socalled platforms of government of today’s candidates, one should notice that the latter are promising the same package except that it is delivered in a variety of attractive gift wraps (masks?).
Without genuine political parties all campaigning is purely for the sake of getting votes.
How much longer will we put up with this masquerade? Not until we stop voting for the whims and caprices of individuals and shift to the vision and philosophy of genuine political parties.
Only then will candidates be unmasked and elections cease to be a cheesy masquerade party.