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EDITORIAL: Bitter Pill

The late Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., founder of PDP-Laban, the supposed flag bearer of the super majority must be rolling in his grave. His brainchild is on the brink of disintegration in a very heartbreaking manner, courtesy of those who benefited the most from the party, with President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the lead pack.

To think that those who drove the fatal nail and sipped most of the nectar of the party in power have joined the party only for convenience. They have never been confronted with the challenges of nurturing the development of PDP-Laban, founded by a well-respected freedom fighter, particularly during the challenging times of Martial Law.

It is so ironic that the almost certain end of a party is about to come courtesy of people who never had any hand in molding PDP-Laban as a major party to contend with. In fairness, however, to Mr. Duterte and his cordon sanitaire, their dreaded actuations are more of a result than the cause of the current political turmoil.

One of the major factors that led to the scandalous practices of present-day politicians whose behavior is no different from the long rejected traditional politicians (Trapos) who found party loyalty nothing but as an instrument to promote self-interest.

The practice became more pronounced immediately following the computerization of the electoral process, which as designed was adopted to stop or at least minimize the irregularities in political exercises.

The outcome turned out to be exactly the reverse. Computerization tempted the evil-minded to design strategies in countering the lofty of technology. Vote buying became more rampant, courtesy of the privilege of candidates and political parties to designate poll watchers.

The law fixes a shorter campaign period. But it is more known to be violated than observed, no thanks to the requirement that candidates should file their certificates of candidacy (COC) months prior to the long campaign period, thereby imposing penalties for its transgression.

What has not been considered is the prospect of campaigning between the deadline for filing of COCs and the start of the legal campaign period. As a consequence, well-funded candidates and political parties are now actively engaged in massive campaigns, which poses the prospect of winning bets to commit irregularities once in office in order to recover their expenses.

As originally conceived, substitution of candidates was allowed once the party concerned is disqualified or dies. The law, however, has been distorted by adding replacement of a candidate who withdraws.

This additional ground has led to political mockery and pandemonium. It injects more venom to political butterflyism thereby completely disregarding party principles and loyalty.

In the olden times, a prominent politician once said “ my loyalty to my party ends when my loyalty to the country begins.” In these times, neither party loyalty nor to country is being given weight. Instead, vested interest abounds. Such a bitter pill.

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