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EDITORIAL: Chameleonic Traits

The 48th anniversary of the infamous Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21,1972, which gave way to the conjugal dictatorship passed almost not noticed, except for some protests basically warning on the lessons versus tyranny.

But other than voicing out condemnation of authoritarianism more serious discussions have never been conducted in order to systematically analyze the cause or causes leading to such a sorry situation. Truth to tell this tendency to commit abuses by government leaders can be primarily traced to our practice as a people. A part of culture perhaps.

History shows that most of our leaders have been opportunists who tend to ingratiate themselves to whoever is in power. This must be the reason why Filipino compatriots have committed treachery against each other. This is true during the Spanish and American regimes.

That will take volumes however to write about. To make it easier for recollection purposes, let us take the Japanese occupation as reckoning point, during which time some Filipinos shifted their allegiance to the invaders.

They used to be called “Ganap” who, just to earn income and enjoy some privileges abandoned their allegiance to the Philippines by treacherously pointing to fellow Filipinos engaged in patriotic endeavors.

Japanese soldiers had a very terse description of Filipinos at that time “Firipino tago Firipino toro”.

This tragic situation led to fights pitting Filipinos against Filipinos. Those who are still living now find it difficult to forget that when the war was about to end, victorious guerillas paraded a body-less head around town in broad daylight.

When relatively democratic elections already saw reality in the country a two party system was born. But it did not last long, that is why some political pundits coined the term political butterflyism.

This is best exemplified in the shift of party affiliation of then Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who originally belonged to the Liberal Party, but jumped to the Nacionalista Party to fit his presidential ambition. He posted a landslide victory. He ran for re-election and won. When his second term was about to expire, he proclaimed martial law.

The rest is history. Meantime many of our so called political leaders joined the bandwagon of the conjugal dictatorship. Upon the downfall of the tyrannical rule, the very people who professed canine devotion to the Marcoses trooped to the Cory Aquino camp. Many of them landed into juicy positions.

Like chameleons that change colors to their own benefit these people have no principles intact and their loyalty is reserved for their own exclusive selfish ends. As if they are just changing clothes to fit their motives. Indeed in politics there are no permanent allies but only interest.

It is a very frustrating thought that most of the contemporary leaders treat power as an end in itself instead of being the means to promote inclusivity. Principle centered policies are abandoned because once in power they adopt an entirely new outlook. Over the past several decades members of congress (both houses) have been derisively pictured as crocodiles, with emphasis on greed for wealth and power.

They already leveled up, not only for their thirst and hunger for power and fame. In plain, they have become chameleonic -- persons who often change their beliefs or behavior in order to please others or to succeed. Their kind is abundant right now here in our place.

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