by Brod Ricardo Gacayan, Jr.
Sports has the Olympics, football a.k.a soccer has the World Cup and the Philippines has the greatest fiesta dubbed as the Presidential election this May. The whole country will be entertained by dancing and singing politicos, among others. At this juncture somehow money grows on trees, everyone is in a euphoric state like an expectant first time father waiting for the nurse in the lobby of a maternity ward to break the news.
The morning the day after, when confetti are still scattered on stage where the mitting de avance was held, in our mind the next election is not coming soon enough. This is a phenomenon, where politics as a soap opera, where the whole country is participant, reaches the zenith of their symbiotic relationship.
This fiesta of all fiestas always grips the imagination of the country, and why not? Officially it is a ninety days campaign event for president and vice-president, in reality at least a year of posturing and mudslinging.
I wonder if the notion of Collective Responsibility applies in this particular phenomenon. All fun and game, que sera sera, of course all these are in the pretext of ‘for the good of country’’, hence, the people.
Being a citizen of the Philippines brings with it individual responsibilities among other things is the political right to vote – ideally, to use that vote as a tool, a tool to put in place people in government that makes the country progressive. As a citizen, we are responsible for the actions, successes and failures of the people we voted. It also brings responsibilities as a ‘collective’. Decisions made by the Government Officials are binding on all citizens of the Philippines. This means that even if we disagreed with a course of action privately, we are obliged to follow the decision made by the majority (the tyranny of majority that is) – until the next election that is.
The ‘Collective’ have strata (everyone is on equal footing in the sense that all has a role to play to complete the whole):
One – the Trojan Horses, i.e. politicos. They are auditioning for the leading role. Competency is desirable but not preferred. Large amount of money is a must, regardless where it comes from.
Two – the Praetorians. They are the event organisers, i.e. Commission on Elections including the Police and Military (of course they cannot be dissuaded not to do their duty).
Three – the Machiavellis, i.e. the intellectuals, legal practitioners save the few, political advisers, campaign managers, religious leaders. They are the mechanics who are making sure the machine is well-oiled and the supply of petrol is flowing accordingly.
Four – the masa. They know their place.
The Triumvirate that underpin to achieve desired political outcome are the Trojan Horses, the Praetorians and the Machiavellis.
Who, or what, or both can break the cycle to make sure that the will of the people reflects the results of the election? Can we rely on the law of averages, or this is just a fallacy of the maturity of chances?
Whoever that is – should encourage change with a nappier than bludgeon. Christians day of reference is BC and AD, music lovers is July 1965 when Bob Dylan swap acoustic to electric guitar. As for the Philippines, who knows?
Indeed, declaring the history of corruption in the Philippines is beyond salvation but someone will comes along and will clean it, is no more helpful than the oldest canard in the whole debate of who among the current crap of presidential candidates can absorb the lesson of the pass and shape the future.
Oh! I almost fail to mention the last stratum in the ‘Collective’, the active bystander like me, who is trigger happy, quick to adjudge, conjugate and extrapolate. Not dissimilar to an uninvited neighbour who is gazing, listening to the insatiable laughter’s and bickering that are bellowing through the night.
Our country needs a Marshall Plan combined with Scandinavian social engineering. The long and short of it, is that this is our own undoing, we are all in this together. We cannot however, hide behind the mantle of legal sophistry of Nelsonian Knowledge. Aphorist Stanislaw Jerzy Lec profoundly put it into words when he wrote ‘Even a glass eye can see its blindness’.
About the Author
Brod Ricardo Gacayan, Jr. is known in the Tau Kappan circle as “Pastor.” He found his niche in London where he and his family are living. He works with the City Council of Westminster where the seat of power of the United Kingdom is located. He is an active officer of Finchley Raiders in London and European Network of Filipino Diaspora – United Kingdom (ENFiD-UK). He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Law in the Philippines.