A Tale of Two Priests

  • Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines

    Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines

    AFP News
    Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines

    Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao is idolised by tens of millions in the poverty-afflicted Philippines both for his punching power and as a national icon of hope after rising from the streets to the pinnacle of world boxing. Known to his countrymen in the Asian archipelago as "The National Fist", Pacman fights undefeated American Floyd Mayweather on May 2 to decide who is the world's best "pound-for-pound" boxer. To most of the Philippines' population of almost 100 million, Pacquiao, winner of an …

  • Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    Reuters
    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    The Philippines called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory …

  • Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    Associated Press
    Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Philippines on Sunday urged its fellow Southeast Asian countries to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take "de facto control" of the area. …

  • The Latest: Air of uneasy calm, uncertainty over Kathmandu

    The Latest: Air of uneasy calm, uncertainty over Kathmandu

    Associated Press
    The Latest: Air of uneasy calm, uncertainty over Kathmandu

    11.00 a.m. (0515 GMT) …

  • BRIEF-Dongjiang Environmental plans to raise up to 2.3 bln yuan in private …

    Reuters

    April 27 (Reuters) - Dongjiang Environmental Co Ltd * Says plans to raise up to 2.3 billion yuan ($371.08million) in private placement of shares * Says shares have resumed trading on April 27 Source text in Chinese: http://bit.ly/1DBbpaV;http://bit.ly/1JuJMXZ Further company coverage: {0895.HK]($1 = 6.1981 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms) …

By Ramon Casiple for Yahoo! Southeast Asia

The 2013 local elections will have two priests running for governorship of two provinces. Not only do these events indicate a trend but these reflect the seriousness of the problems of traditional politics in the Philippines.

Fr. Eduardo "Among Ed" Panlilio will run for re-election for the post of Pampanga governor while Fr. Leo Casas will run for the first time for the post of Masbate governor. Both were executive director of the social action centers of their respective dioceses. From this vantage point, they observed the corruption, political violence, and subversion of the people's will by the traditional elite who—as they consolidate power—developed the political dynasties that today dominate much of our political landscape.

In time, the lesson sinks in. The political elite will not relinquish the power or allow meaningful participation of ordinary citizens in governance. They would prevent the emergence of leaders from below or coopted them into the traditional political system. The electoral contest in many places reduces to one between a "greater or lesser evil."

The dearth of viable candidates is directly related to the extremely weak political party system. The latter cannot function independently of their elite leadership and serves only to maintain the facade of democratic choice, mobilizer of warm bodies, and otherwise serve to support the pre-determined candidacies of dynastic figures.

Frs. Panlilio and Casas represent the alternative road to anti-dynastic politics. Once again, church people are rising to the call of political reforms in the country, just as they did before during the Marcos dictatorship. They blaze the trail in this endeavour, making the point that ordinary citizens and their leaders can participate meaningfully in democratic elections.

However, they face formidable odds. When Fr. Panlilio won in the 2007 elections and lost narrowly in the 2010 elections, both the positive and negative lessons of solid organizing, wide-ranging coalition-building, and painstaking education of the citizen-voters came to the fore.

Will these lessons be really learned? To be sure, the starting point now is far different and on a higher plane than in the last elections. Both run under the ruling liberal Party, with support from the President himself. The president's reform agenda is well within their own platform and they therefore embody the continuing reform momentum under this administration.

In Pampanga, Fr. Panlilio runs against the still-formidable machinery of former Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her hand-picked governor-candidate Lilia Pineda. In Masbate, Fr. Casas runs against the warlord families in the province. They have their work cut out for them. The voters of Pampanga and Masbate also have their choices before them, as clear as never before. Will they deliver the votes?

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines
    Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines

    Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao is idolised by tens of millions in the poverty-afflicted Philippines both for his punching power and as a national icon of hope after rising from the streets to the pinnacle of world boxing. Known to his countrymen in the Asian archipelago as "The National Fist", Pacman fights undefeated American Floyd Mayweather on May 2 to decide who is the world's best "pound-for-pound" boxer. To most of the Philippines' population of almost 100 million, Pacquiao, winner of an …

  • Indonesia's Jokowi to speak to attorney general about Philippines death row convict

    Indonesia President Joko Widodo will consult with the attorney general on legal issues surrounding the case of death row convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Philippines presidential spokesman said on Monday. The statement came after the Philippines President Benigno Aquino met Widodo at the ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur and appealed for "humanitarian consideration" in the case. Widodo was sympathetic and was consulting with the Indonesian attorney general on the legal issues, he said. …

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia on Monday urged Indonesia to ensure all legal processes have been cleared of corruption before executing two of its nationals, as bribery allegations surfaced regarding their drug smuggling trial. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke to her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Sunday evening while Prime Minister Tony Abbott has written to President Joko Widodo to again plead for the executions to be halted. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options