Elections and good governance should not imply the destruction of our institutions


RDo you remember in 2010 when Noynoy Aquino won the presidency and those who campaigned or voted for the other side were so exhausted and depressed? So much so that they began to sever ties with family and friends, especially those celebrating Aquino’s victory by lecturing them about their “ignorance” and “corruption”, about how they were obstructing “good governance”? Remember when this losing side took to the streets to demand revolution, eager to see the situation in the country deteriorate, perhaps even disappear? You remember ?

Nope? Well because it never happened. After the initial disappointment and after it became clear that Aquino had won, most opposing voters simply shrugged their shoulders and got back to business. They treated their family and friends as before, regardless of their political position. Above all, they hoped for the best for the country.

Contrast that with today, with the supposed calls out of schools, the repetitive buzzing calls in the streets, the invitation to cut ties with family and friends whose only sin was to support the candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos , Jr. And compare this with the attitude of today many losers of Leni Robredo, declaring the complete withdrawal of all support to their fellow citizens and even to the country.

Incredibly, the winning team isn’t even allowed to party: any amount of happy feeling was seen as jubilation by the Kakampinks, laughing at the “pain suffered by those who put so much into their campaign “, about the victory they supposedly deserved because, after all, they were going from house to house. But that’s what election campaigns are like: everyone is involved, but inevitably some will win and others will lose.

And setting aside the childishly self-proclaimed “trophy for every participant” attitude, what is apparently being swept away are the months and months of repeated insults and condescension accumulated by the Kakampinks, to the point that simply wearing red or Sara’s BBM/face mask in public will suffer the indignity of sarcastic remarks, glares or even deranged haranguing lectures, including tales of vague casualties suffered during the “revolution of 1986”, anyway.

More disconcerting is the attitude of wanting to win at all costs, the will to get rid of the institutions of our country just so that we can impose our will on the other.

Our universities, supposedly bastions of free thought and the free exchange of ideas, have suddenly become shameless hives of homogeneous political thought. And it’s no good pretending that just this school official or that the school organization has approved a speciIfc presidential candidate. The fact that this happened without anyIfThe social statement made on maintaining the university’s neutrality speaks volumes. And how a student who supports a different candidate or, even worse, one the university explicitly or implicitly opposes will be welcomed into the classroom has never been explained. So much for safe spaces.

Same thing with the local Catholic clergy. It doesn’t matter what other religions are, that’s their concern. But for a Church that prides itself on being “Catholic”, to put an end to centuries and centuries of tradition exercised in all the countries where the Catholic Church is located, to suddenly step back oneIfThis candidate – after even refusing to endorse anyone in the 2013 election amid the heat of national debate over the then HR bill – reeks of politicized selfishness. And that, regardless of the fact that the candidate they backed, Ms. Robredo, authored the HR law, advocated for SOGI bills, as well as pushed for civil unions (which, in the form currently being discussed, is virtually the same as same-sex marriage”). could not have access to the sacraments.

But the most disgusting, worthy of contempt, is the attitude towards the family, where insulting and cutting off one’s parents, siblings, relatives and even friends is praised when it was done for partisan reasons. The sheer arrogance of this, the utter selfishness, of thinking that one has a monopoly on facts and reason, resulting in being individualistic the sole exclusive determinant of right and wrong, is horribly mind-boggling. And sad.

Politicians come and go, but the care and security of personal relationships is precisely why we engage in politics. Believing that politics is the end of everything and being everything is downright massively ignorant and self-centered.

In summary, the words of lawyer and jurist Trixie Legaspi-Francisco are worth listening to: “Democracy is governed by its most popular principle: majority rule. Majority voting (or plurality when there are more than two choices) decides the election or the issue. So when the People have spoken, the will of the People must be respected, whether you agree or not. Democracy is not a weapon that you can only use if it suits you.

Jemy Gatdula is a Senior Researcher at the Philippine Council on Foreign Relations and Professor of Law at the Judicial Academy of the Philippines for Constitutional Philosophy and Jurisprudence.


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