Purges, Personalities and Other Myths

The purge is part of the administration’s political strategy that began with the charter change (Cha-cha) move which gained momentum after the defeat of the second impeachment complaint against Mrs. Arroyo last year. Cha-cha was widely believed to be a ploy that would allow its authors led by the sitting President to perpetuate themselves in power through the proposed unicameral parliamentary system. Its defeat last December forced the administration and its ruling coalition to shift course toward election preparation and this is being jumpstarted through the purge of opposition local chief executives.

Another myth that seems to persist is that elections are essentially a battle of personalities where victory is also clinched by the use of the proverbial “guns, goons and gold.” In the coming election, there will of course be invocations of banalities and false promises that the voters themselves will not expect to see in real terms. Traditional politicians fear that if the elections were allowed to become a stage for competing political agenda and issues, such transformation will only unravel their political bankruptcy not to mention the inanities streaming from the mouths of the demagogues among them.

Indeed, this elitist culture of manipulating the elections as a popularity contest, images and sound bites complete with a repertoire of entertainment creates another myth: That the people are gullible to lies and disinformation. An example is the smear campaign that administration officials have been waging against the progressive party-list groups. National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez has been talking to reporters threatening the disqualification of Bayan Muna (BM) and allied party-list groups for the reason that they are “communist front” organizations. He has also called for the revival of RA 1700 or the anti-subversion law, hoping that it can be used likewise against the progressive parties. This has been part of Gonzalez’s dirty tricks campaign to criminalize and demonize these groups – reason enough, rights watchdogs and militant groups say, that he can be made to account for the political assassination of 122 BM members and several others from the other party-list groups.

Modus operandi

The Gonzalez modus operandi is expected to become more intense during the election campaign as part of government’s black propaganda against the progressive party-list groups. This will be so in order to blunt the high-level campaign that will be waged by these groups as they articulate people’s issues, the need for comprehensive social and economic reform, people’s governance, the protection of the country’s sovereignty and self-determination, and so on.

BM has topped the party-list elections twice in a row, in 2001 and 2004. The new politics that it and other allied party-list groups represent demolishes the elitist practice that converts the electoral process into a popularity contest, money and fraud.

Because this progressive party-list groups’ innovative approach has apparently gained popularity, it is loathed by the likes of Gonzalez precisely because it can lead to the disenfranchisement of the powers-that be by raising the political consciousness of the people.

Bereft of visions and programs that address the people’s democratic interests, they subvert the elections through manipulation, disinformation and the spreading of more myths.

This is their way of opposing any genuine reform that sees an elective position primarily as a public service rather than as a means of perpetuating political dynasties. They simply do not understand that the people are smarter than they are made to appear – they are able to sort out the grain from the chaff thrown upon them by the likes of Gonzalez. Posted by (Bulatlat.com)

1Only 27 elective officials (two governors, 25 mayors, one vice governor and one vice mayor) who were charged with violation of RA 3019, malversation, estafa, bribery and theft in 1979-May 2006 or a period of 27 years were found guilty by the Sandiganbayan. (“Is the Philippine judicial system effective in fighting corruption?”, A preliminary report of CenPEG and TI-Philippines, Dec. 8, 2006.

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