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Change the way we elect our leaders

/ 05:02 AM April 09, 2021

Lawyer Alex Lacson, in his speech “The Filipino Dream” which he delivered at the Universitas Foundation last March 20, presented some recommendations to solve the problems of our country. He gave examples applied by successful countries such as Denmark, among them regulating business so that employees can get a fair share of their companies’ income to enable them to live a contented life, and teaching the value of a good election system as part of the curriculum in senior high school.

Unfortunately, I do not think our current government leaders would be willing to give up their privileges and follow such a formula for progress, because they run counter to their selfish interests. And without the honest support of our leaders in Congress, we know we cannot get such suggestions implemented through constitutional means.

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Our politicians invest so much for their election, spending huge amounts to win votes. Naturally, they will try to recover their “investments” and set aside more for their reelection. The only way they can do this is through corruption, be it directly robbing the government or using their position to gain “lagay” from others. Which means they will have no incentive to push for the right legislation or their implementation. Such initiatives would run counter to their primary but often illegal objectives in office.

The only way we can remedy our situation is to have a new system of elections where money is not necessary to win. That way, the winning candidates will be satisfied with a reasonable increase in compensation, which is a little more than what they will get outside the government.

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But why would our congressional leaders not want a system of elections that is not expensive?

It is because their advantage in elections will no longer prevail. The people will then be electing leaders who are competent and intelligent, because they can no longer sell their votes.

Of course, changing our system of elections and governance will not be easy. Changing our system by constitutional means is in the hands of our current leaders. It may only be through a direct exercise of our sovereign right as a people that we can change things. Such an initiative is legitimate, and it is our only remaining road to freedom. As the Supreme Court ruled in 1987 when it decided on the legitimacy of the Cory government: “It is an inherent right of the people to cast out their rulers, change their policy or effect radical reforms in their system of government or institution by force or a general uprising when the legal and constitutional methods of making change have proved inadequate or are so obstructed as to be available.”

We seem to have no other alternative but to change the way we elect our leaders. Or we will continue our path to downfall.

Col. Guillermo G. Cunanan (Ret.), Parañaque City

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