Ahh…love is in the air. It’s hard to explain what, give or take, 40% of Filipinos voters are feeling right now. Maybe it’s that warm, fuzzy feeling they are getting all over; like their chest is bursting at the seams with emotion that’s so hard to contain. Their head must be spinning and their mind is thinking of only one thing. They can’t concentrate on anything else and it’s happiness all around. Everything in the world seems wonderful. They could keep a smile pasted on their faces even through the worst circumstances, and respond with “Enjoy the rest of your day, Sir” even after someone tells them to piss-off. Some even write blogs like To Be Neutral Is To Be Indifferent. They feel great! One can only assume it’s love. They are in love with Noynoy Aquino.
All this talk of love brings my thoughts back to the Philippine Presidential election. We can actually use courtship as an analogy for campaigning for the presidency. If a potential suitor (Noynoy) is pursuing me (The Voter), I’d expect him to at least exhibit a bit of wit or wisdom. After all, we are not just going to stare at each other while he sips his favourite coffee or I, my tea, at Starbucks after watching a film. I want someone who can analyse the film (our country, the Philippines) with me in different contexts and not just appreciate the special effects (Cory and Ninoy). A film is a work of art. There’s just so much to discuss about it, like how much it cost to produce it (the budget) and its cast of lead actors (cabinet secretaries). Likewise, the suitor (Noynoy) should try and discern if his love interest (The Voter) will love him back not only for his name (Aquino) or fame (famous parents/siblings) or fortune (Hacienda Luisita). This is important because, months or even just weeks after the love is consummated, things can quickly go from heart-shaped to pear-shaped when the real feelings of either party are mistaken for something else or worse, exposed as a sham. Sometimes the person who is the source of our happiness can also be the source of our unhappiness.
Love can be an overwhelming emotion. A lot of people become irrational when they get enamored with someone. They stop using their head. How many couples have gone to Vegas for a quicky marriage only to get a quicky divorce in the end? Countless, I’m sure. In a lot of cases, going through a divorce (Edsa Revolution) is a bit messy. Some people who go through it get stuck in a rut. It takes years out of them and other aspects of their lives like health (environment), well-being (intelligence), and housing (infrastructure) suffer while things fail to move along.
It’s the same with choosing a president of a country. If we elect someone without using our head just like what someone is suggesting on some other Filipino blogsite, we will definitely end up in a rut. There is no need to rush. To be neutral now is not being indifferent. The election is still in May. As Elvis sang, only fools rush in. Don’t be fooled by all the words that make demands in the guise of patriotism — words that say “there is no other choice (but Noynoy)”. There are other choices out there. There are plenty of fish (Gordon, Teodoro, Perlas, etc.) in the ocean. It’s tantamount to bullying when a suitor wants a commitment from you as soon as possible. You can tell they’ve got a different agenda. My own experience proved to me that suitors who are quick to say the words “I love you” even when they hardly know me are the ones who aren’t thinking straight. Love is not just about how you feel about someone; it’s also about how that person feels about you. If I, as a love interest (voter) would rate a suitor (Noynoy) who just lets his popularity and his family’s money do all the talking, I would give that suitor a fail. He needs to prove his love first by doing some hard work and writing me a genuine love letter (platform) first.
IS IT A SUITOR OR A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?
Who are we kidding here? The Presidential election is not about finding a love interest after all. It is more comparable to hiring a CEO. Hiring a CEO (president) to run a company shouldn’t really be dependent on the company employees (ignorant voters). The Board members usually select and do the hiring for the top job, which is comparable to what goes on in a parliamentary system in a political setting. I don’t know of any corporation who asked their employees to select their CEO. Employees know nothing about being a CEO. The CEO has to be someone selected for his skill with making money and bringing about productive transformation to the business. He should have the ability to bring in fresh ideas and not just use the same old tired and recycled ideas from his mentors. The presidential candidate, like a CEO, should be a doer and not someone who will just rely entirely on his staff for guidance. My ideal CEO (or President) is someone who started from the bottom and not someone who inherited his position because of his family’s connections. Those who started from the bottom usually know the situation inside and out so when a staff approaches him with a problem, he can easily make a decision.
Are the Filipinos really capable of hiring their president? I don’t think so. At the rate that the SWS surveys are going, Filipino voters are just choosing between two opposing candidates. One candidate is someone with famous parents and one with all the fire power to effect a campaign based on targeted advertising. The choice has become about popularity and fortune over credibility. It is not really a good indication that Filipinos have matured enough since the last election six years ago.
The country’s current system of electing a president by popular vote coupled with the ignorant electorate contribute to the overall dysfunction of the whole exercise. One doesn’t have to be a genius to see that everything has to be revised to bring about real change in the way we hire a president or choose our love interest. We need to use our head with both.
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Definition of terms (Source: Wikepedia)
1. Parliamentary System
A parliamentary system is a system of government where in the ministers of the executive branch is drawn from the legislature, and is accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined. In such a system, the head of government is both de facto chief executive and chief legislator.
Parliamentary systems are characterized by no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, leading to a different set of checks and balances compared to those found in presidential systems. Parliamentary systems usually have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state, with the head of government being the prime minister or premier, and the head of state often being a figurehead, often either a president (elected either popularly or by the parliament) or a hereditary monarch (often in a constitutional monarchy).
One of the commonly attributed advantages to parliamentary systems is that it’s faster and easier to pass legislation.This is because the executive branch is dependent upon the direct or indirect support of the legislative branch and often includes members of the legislature. Thus, this would amount to the executive (as the majority party or coalition of parties in the legislature) possessing more votes in order to pass legislation.
2. Ignorant Voters
Ignorant voters are mostly Filipinos. They vote their public officials based on popularity or someone with a catchy jingle/advertising.