2007 Philippine Elections: Whats at Stake (4)

May. 09, 2007

In this fourth installment of Davao Today’s series of Q&As on the 2007 elections, Julkipli Wadi, political science and Islamic studies professor at the University of the Philippines, argues that both the administration and the opposition have offered nothing new to Filipinos in this election.

What is at stake in this election?

There is nothing at stake in this election. Philippine elections have been prostituted by Filipino politicians, as shown by the “Hello Garci” scandal. And the forthcoming election would have been critical had there been massive electoral reform after “Hello Garci.” Since there is none, I dont expect anything in this election. What can be expected, in fact, are the same politicians and their drinking buddies, wives, sons, daughters and what have you, strutting all over with no sense of guilt, despite the recent PERC report that the Philippines is No. 1 in corruption. And we know that Philippine elections are one of the main corruption-markers in the country.

Some say the Arroyo administration is determined to dominate the elections to head off another possible impeachment and political turbulence. Any thoughts on this?

I dont think so. Launching another round impeachment is a waste of time. When President Arroyo said she wants the Team Unity to win this coming election, it is because she simply wishes to have more allies in Congress so she will have less headache while making it easy to concoct last minute deals in her remaining years in office.

There is also the sense that local political groups or politicians are exploiting the administration’s desperation. They do this by getting political concessions from the administration which they would then use to beef up their own political domains. Any thoughts?

In a sense, Philippine politics is really a collusion of politicians in both national and local governments.

What are the issues do you think should be on the table during the campaign but are not being discussed?

How to address the burgeoning foreign debt, population explosion, the peace process, war on terrorism, the AFP’s propensity to wage war in Mindanao and currently in Sulu, the worsening crimes in Manila and elsewhere which are worse than terrorism and insurgency, brain drain, the outflux of Filipinos to other countries that is symptomatic of a failed state.

What do you think is the administration’s strongest points, and the opposition’s?

Both are bereft of any respectable points. Metaphorically speaking, the electorate is left with no choice — not even a choice between greater or lesser evils. They represent two sides of the same coin, with equal venality. In short, pare-pareho lang sila.

What would swing the polls? The middle class? The Left? The Right?

Its the middle class and the lower class. The Lefts and the Rights votes are negligible in national politics. They have yet to capture the imagination of the masses.

Finally, what is your sense of how Filipinos regard or appreciate the elections? Is this something important to them? Do they even care? Or have they become jaded?

Yes, jaded. The only way to make elections important again is to have electoral reforms first, including the total overhauling of the Comelec before holding any election. Since nothing substantial has been done on this, I can understand why the masses view Philippine elections as a waste of time. Political expediency has long buried principled politics in this country. (davaotoday.com)

Historian Manuel Quezon III, political analyst Luis V. Teodoro, author and journalist Glenda Gloria answered these same questions in the first , second , and third installments, respectively, of this series.

Copyright 2007 Davao Today. Permission is granted to use and distribute this article, provided that any byline, tagline and the link URL to davaotoday.com are retained. Visit Davao Today for more stories on Davao City, Mindanao, Manila and the rest of the Philippines.

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