Monday, April 10, 2006

Davide, two parties and collective hara-kiri

When retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. accepted the job of presidential advisor on electoral reforms, not a few liberally minded observers were disappointed. They wondered how this highly respected former chief magistrate could associate with the president they despise.

Now Davide has come out with his recommendations for electoral reform. Strangely, the media have not published his report, but quote Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, who some see as GMA’s top spin doctor.

From what I saw in today’s newspapers, I’ll pick out two points only: Reportedly, Davide proposes the return to a two-party system. The revival of the two-party rule – writes the reporter of Manila Standard Today – “should be one of the major constitutional reforms that must be pursued.” This proposal is a rehash of the draft presented to the president by the Consultative Commission (Con Com) a few months ago.

I have never quite understood, let alone supported this proposal. The notion that the state or the government prescribes the number of political parties is highly illiberal and autocratic. Imagine a future Philippine Parliament run by the two “designated” political parties Lakas and Kampi. I could also mention other combinations in which it would be more straightforward to move directly to a one-party system.

I couldn’t help smiling when I read of Davide’s intention to fight the political dynasties. According to one report, the former Chief Justice called on Congress to strictly define political dynasties and implement harsh sanctions against them. This proposal doesn’t become more realistic by simply repeating it again and again. It is tantamount to asking the majority of the political class to commit collective hara-kiri. No privileged class has ever given up power voluntarily.


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Blogger peterlavina said...

Davide presided the COMELEC for many years. I wonder what reforms he has instituted in it. Now, as mere advisor I do not see anything substantial to come out of his mission to help cleanse the rotten electoral system. He has only lent an otherwise good name in his twilight years to a President with a very doubtful poll victory.
I totally agree with you. This to us Filiponos is just another "palabas!"

12:29 PM  

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