The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) was recently formed under the leadership of Vice President Jejomar Binay to put up candidates in the 2013 elections. It is understood that these candidates will be separate from the candidates of the ruling Liberal Party under President Aquino. Despite this, UNA has not characterized itself as an opposition party. It has not come out with a program of government that is different from the one being implemented by the administration, if such a program exists.
So what kind of political animal is UNA? For sure, it is not in coalition with the Liberal Party. Therefore, it would be rational to expect that UNA should be an opposition party. But it appears not so, especially with Binay remaining a member of the Cabinet of President Aquino.
UNA has not said that it is dissatisfied with the actions of the administration, or that it disagrees with its policies and programs. Why then is it forming an “alliance” against the candidates of the administration? The only palpable answer is that UNA is not an alliance based on principles but an alliance based on ambitions and self-interests. It is also an alliance properly perceived as one intended to support and advance Binay’s presumed candidacy for president in 2016.
Those who scramble for membership in UNA are the “outs” of the present administration, or those who believe that they have no chance of obtaining the ruling party’s endorsement in the next elections; or those who are strongly attracted to UNA by the unquestioned popularity of Binay, who rates even higher than President Aquino, according to poll surveys and is believed to be a “sure” winner in the 2016 presidential race.
What do these characters say of our democracy? For one it can be said that it is not the modern democracy depicted in textbooks, wherein two or more political parties contend for power based on how they stand on public or social issues, and which propose opposing programs on how to deal with those issues. Such a democracy without principles is prone to the politics of what a long-time traditional politician described aptly as the “politics of the three Gs—guns, gold and goons.” Since the three Gs are a monopoly of economic, social and political power blocs among the existing social and business elite, it is their representatives or proxies that run in the elections, and the masses have no participation but to vote. They won’t even get enlightened by an honest discussion of the issues. After the elections, they would not be wiser, only poorer.
Sensing this, the masses have become cynical about the electoral process. Many of them would rather take the cash, than not get anything out of the circus. Rice in the fist is better than rice in the airy promises of politicians. They may starve again later, but at least for once they eat. The ruling elite never loses. After the voting, the looting begins anew.
—MANUEL F. ALMARIO
Movement for Truth in History