Senator Lacson is the first to publicly react to Randy David’s proposal for a boycott of the May elections. Lacson’s views are sensible. The problem with a boycott is it must be massive, and as David admits, the end game in a boycott is a withdrawal of support from the entire government. To move for this, at the present time, presents a needless complication, in my view.
But there can be an undeclared boycott; it is one taking shape because of the manner in which both the administration and opposition have pretty discouraging senatorial slates. Participation in local elections will be high, it seems to me, but the administration risks its middle class supporters simply leaving their senatorial portion of the ballot blank, and the neutral doing the same. By default this should leave the senatorial race firmly in the hands of the opposition, but you can’t discount the machinery of the Palace in trying to massage the national vote. If this were to happen, then the 50% opposed to the President will cry foul when there isn’t an opposition landslide; the president’s middle class supporters and even the neutral -or uncommitted- will find the results unbelievable but quietly rejoice in the cheating. Which means more of the same: a political stalemate which means no one will “move on” and tempers might head in a more radical direction.
And yet: if we accept the argument of the Inquirer editorial yesterday, that the elections will be a mechanism for judging the entire government’s moral basis for existence, then participation in an election is necessary, not only because everyone’s expected to adhere to democracy, but also as a basis for determining,once and for all, the ability of the government to maintain the fundamental requirement of any democracy, which is acceptable elections.
Other news: Court of Appeals finally decides on disputed Luneta properties. A backlash against Chinese investments in Zambia. Scientists say the brains of gays resemble that of women.
In the punditocracy:
My column for today is A grudge match. Reference in it was made to the results of past presidential elections and the most recent senatorial elections. Also look at Jove Francisco to see how the President is giving up one of the prized assets of incumbency: lifting the arms of “her” candidates. Shades of how Dubya was shunned by his fellow Republicans last November (and for much the same reasons). Then see Jarius Bondoc to see how the Palace is trying to frame a “third force” to harm it less than it would harm the opposition.
Washington SyCip and his remarks on democracy and development have triggered discussion. I think his main point is that mass democracy works up to a point -the precinct- but that’s needed (as the Thais did, though he didn’t mention that, as he focuses on Ireland) is a consensus on national development goals among the elite. See Fel Maragay, who reports on how some overseas workers are upset over government efforts to dictate their salaries.
Amirah Ali Lidasan tries to put the recent “detention” of government negotiators in perspective. For counterpoint, see Philippine Commentary.
The Nation of Bangkok points out how the coup can be rescued.
In the blogosphere, a sampling of reactions to Richard Gomez’s running as an administration candidate: Pinoy Rickey is amused; Janette Toral is neutral, and tries to be balanced (but advises, in the end, against candidacy); Citizen on Mars is ambivalent; Political Pinoy reacts with contempt; as do Far From Neutral Notions (who also appeals to Manny Pacquiao not to run), and Click Mo Mukha Mo who has decided to boycott Philippine TV media. Bong Austero is horrified. As is Alleba Politics.
I agree most with Bulletproof Vest. It’s a free country. Let him run. Let him win -or lose. Actors in politics is a fad. But fads take decades to play out in politics. Better to get it out of our system than to raise artificial barriers that only egg on the craving for an alternative to a century of lawyers in politics.
Interesting scuttlebutt from Iloilo City Boy on Franklin Drilon dropping his bid to represent Iloilo.
Bunker City Chronicles reflects on the economic news.
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