Politics, crime, corruption rolled into one

It is a done deal: The Liberal Party of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III is forging a coalition with the Nacionalista Party of Senator Manny Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco as it prepares for the 2013 national and local elections.

At first glance, there is nothing unusual about it. In the Philippine setting, political parties are treated lightly,  more of labels to indicate the current affiliation of the country’s political figures than a firm commitment to a set of party platform and core values.

It has been this way since the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos abolished the two-party system of the past with the declaration of martial law in 1972 and institutionalization of the one-party system a few years afterwards. When democracy was restored in 1986, the political party system was thrown into mayhem.

But I am appalled that the Liberal Party, to which I still belong, would seek to strengthen itself at the expense of the principles it espouses. A little over two years ago, the Liberal Party castigated then NP standard bearer Manny Villar for the criminal conversions of irrigated ricelands for development as subdivisions. The LP vowed to make Villar answer for his sins against the nation, as his property development schemes shrunk the productivity of our agricultural sector, particularly for the staple crop, rice.

Indeed, memories fade rapidly under our democratic system, and accountability will soon become a forgotten principle.

In Iloilo City, the two top elected officials are mired in corruption scandals, and still, they were welcomed with wide open arms by the Liberal Party after faithfully bowing to the Lakas/NUCD of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It’s as if the stain of corruption can just easily be wiped clean with a drop of dishwashing soap.

This is the politics that is putting down the nation under its own weight. We can’t pursue reform seriously, because our leaders choose convenience over principles. The reality of the times? Maybe. But it is one that is cause for frustration for many Filipinos.

We’ve seen the consequences of this corrupt system with the floods that hit many parts of the country this past week. It uncovered the neglect of our leadership in looking after pressing issues as it sought to achieve better political footholds. It shows that the “matuwid na daan” advocacy of President Aquino is nothing but lip service.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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