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EDITORIAL: Misplaced Patriotism and Intellectual Morality in Philippine Politics

This observation is valid in almost all branches and levels of our government. However, in view of present issues, this is more evident in the legislative branch – both in the lower and upper chambers.

Members of the legislative branch continue to reject the call to submit their reports of expenditures about the people’s money they received. They shamelessly defend their expenditures with mere certification – a policy that they themselves passed to justify the use of the money. This is the same case with the upper house. The ethical issue is that the legislators demand a different audit from the executive branch, indicating a double standard of interpretation of the Constitution.

In terms of compositions, the upper house is composed of brothers and sisters, mother and son, movie actors, and non-political thinkers and philosophers. In the lower house, party-list representatives who are considered the minority and known to be members of the groups whose agenda is to topple the government have been effective in propaganda warfare and have evidently been successful in their goal.

Peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF are being considered to be revived from its moribund state. Impeachment and allowing foreign intervention in our justice system being maneuvered by small number of the left is getting huge attention and seeming tacit approval from the heads of legislative and from private voices in Malacañang. These issues are given more prominence by legislators and mainstream media instead of debates on social and economic problems.

This brings to memory Niccolò Machiavelli the originator of the subject of morality and ethics in politics. The theory that “the end justifies the means” encapsulates his political thought which some or our politicians have adapted. Machiavelli’s political methods are amoral, evil, irrational, and socially destructive, but they are beside the point. The end is - as long as there is beneficial effect on the Prince, ethics and patriotism does not matter at the moment.

The justification is that before Machiavelli, there were previous politicians that even used murder, lying, treachery, corruption, deceit, conspiracy, and disloyalty to achieve their political goals. In fact, some of them were noblemen and women who touted themselves as saviors of the republic, sacrificed for the state, and liberate people from poverty. The public image they created hides their unethical means. The majority of people who suffer in the process of achieving the goal of the minority is rendered meaningless because the end is more important than the means to achieve them.

Machiavelli had structured political principles that wrongly appealed to our Filipino politicians, and because principles are powerful statements, the people in power adopt, and even proudly boast about them as intellectual standards. They use them to perpetuate themselves in power and continue to their ambitions. Unfortunately, Filipinos stupidly accept them every election time.

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