Carvajal: Dream elections

Orlando P. Carvajal
·2 min read

It is not likely that all qualified Filipinos would’ve been vaccinated by then. Hence, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now busy figuring out what and how health protocols might work for a Covid-safe conduct of our 2022 elections.

This is really a minor problem. Besides, whatever the solution, politicians will always find ways to go around it the way they routinely get away with violations of laws on campaign spending, vote-buying, etc. They just have to have their turn at the seat of power so to get the bigger slice of the Philippine economic pie.

The more difficult problem is how to conduct free and fair or truly democratic elections. Our elections have never been fair because only the rich and powerful can run for office and represent their interests and nobody else’s, least of all the marginalized millions.

In effect, our elections are regularly recurring pseudo-democratic events when Filipinos choose which vested interest group will represent them and exclude them from any meaningful participation in politics and from any substantive share in the fruits of the economy.

All things considered, however, all we can do at the moment is dream of a truly fair and free elections where all sectors of society get a chance to be represented in government by their peers and not exclusively by vested interest groups.

The main feature of this dream is that voters no longer vote for the whimsical promises of individuals from private clubs of rich politicians but for the social philosophy and program of government of genuine political parties. Only accredited parties can campaign for party platforms that their candidates will implement once in office.

Genuine political parties are organizations that comply with government requirements (for their accreditation as a public institution) such as a social philosophy and program of government, minimum membership, code of discipline, and membership training on the democratic way of life.

Once parties are accredited as public institutions (usually just two or three) they are entitled to an operating budget (for membership training and election campaigns) from government. Thus, farmers and workers get a fair chance of forming a political party that would represent their interests in government.

Obviously, oligarchs will not take kindly to this system. This is a dream that could come true only if farmers and workers, with the help of enlightened and modernizing sympathizers from the middle and upper classes respectively would unite and move strongly for its adoption.

Otherwise, we will continue to be mired in a system that allows oligarchs alone to have a voice in government, a voice they have so far used for their exclusive benefit.