Friday, January 06, 2006

“Begin the reform process by rewriting party rules”

Central to my professional advocacy, if you may call it that, is the message that democratic political parties are crucial in democratic orders. This is a long story, but I will keep it short here.

Democratic political parties are important avenues through which the popular will is transferred into the political decision making process. Where this avenue is blocked, the quality of the democratic governance is deficient.

I raised this point in a recent posting in a discussion board. In the ensuing debate a contributor by the name of Michael made what I find an interesting observation.

"We’ve talked a lot about reforming the party system as a critical step toward improving governance, but we seem to think that that can only be done if a new Constitution mandates it. Why is that? FVR, JDV, Drilon, etc., are all party leaders, and they all claim to desperately want to see reforms in the current system. To demonstrate their commitment to honest reform, why can’t they begin the process by rewriting their own party rules right now? One party may not be able to pass a law that applies to all elected officials, but they can certainly enact internal rules that bind all members of that party. Rules about transparency and accountability in the use of government funds for example.

Michael has a point there, don’t you think so?


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Anonymous Edward LIberal said...

Yes, I am of the same opinion as Michael. We Liberals should again show the other parties the way ahead.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous ciaomao said...

With its two factions not willing to compromise, the Liberal Party (LP) appears to be headed to a great schism reminiscent of the Quirino-Avelino split of 1949. Last year, the wing identified with Senate President Frank Drilon was rushing unity talks with Manila Mayor Lito Atienza in the hopes of finding some settlement with Atienza’s bigger but loose faction before the party celebrates its 60th anniversary on January 19. The prospects for unity have apparently lost steam with some hardline members looking forward to expelling “undesirable” elements from both camps. Last month, a symbolic breakup happened when Drilon implemented the transfer of the party’s headquarters from Atienza’s Manila to Makati City. Though the official explanation was that the transfer was in accordance with the party’s strategic plan, the real reason was that Drilon’s people in the HQ were increasingly becoming uneasy over the loyalties of the regular staff and of KALIPI (Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas), the party’s youth wing, which shared office space with the party in the old headquarters in Sta. Mesa. The embattled party president also reportedly expressed outrage at the numerous anti-Drilon messages being posted on the party’s official website ( that he ordered that the site’s guest book purged. Up to now the guest book is still unavailable. Apparently, Drilon, a relative newcomer, is so worried over his hold on his new party that he has even refused to convene the National Executive Council (NECO), the party’s highest body outside of the National Directorate, due to fears that he might not be able to control the proceedings, or worse, it might result in his ouster. NECO meetings are needed to ratify the acts of party officials. The party constitution mandates that the NECO should meet at least once a year, but many of its members are losing hope that it will ever get to meet before the party marks its 60th year.

10:41 PM  

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