Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Party Mates

By chance, I zapped into an interesting TV-debate yesterday evening on ANC-News Channel. Joining host Pia Hontiveros on her weekly “Strictly Politics”- talk show were two political friends, DENR-Secretary Mike Defensor and former Undersecretary of Education Chito Gascon. Will it all be over by Christmas?, was the tricky question the two fine gentlemen were asked to answer. Hardly surprising, Mike was inclined to answer in the affirmative, while Chito asserted that the anti-GMA forces, of which he is an intellectual leader, will not surrender any time soon.

Had I been a newcomer to this country’s unpredictable domestic politics I would have assumed that Mike and Chito were the worst political foes. This is not to say that the conduct of the debate was hostile, actually the opposite could be said. I am referring to the substance of the arguments: While Mike defended the President in an eloquence only he possesses, Chito argued with rhetorical skill that his group would pursue its campaign against GMA till the very end.

In this issue Mike and Chito could hardly be further apart. They personalize the black and white divide that has split Philippine society (and the political class). Not the slightest indication of a political compromise became apparent in this debate. This is all the more surprising and disappointing as Mike and Chito are actually members of the same political family. These articulate and charismatic young leaders are both members of the Liberal Party. Their partisan affiliation was not an issue that evening.

This omission (also of the moderator) is a reflection of two phenomena of Philippine politics today: First, members of the liberal camp do not speak with one tongue in an important matter of the state (they actually have agreed to disagree in this crucial affair). Second, on a more general note, the role of political parties in the ongoing crisis has further diminished. This is detrimental for the consolidation of Philippine democracy.

2 Comments:

Blogger mlq3 said...

so glad to see you're blogging!

3:59 PM  
Anonymous edward liberal said...

that's typical for the leaders: they are talking, but not listening.

1:19 PM  

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