Guns, goons, and gold? Now it’s dynasty, disinformation, and substitution | Inquirer Opinion
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Guns, goons, and gold? Now it’s dynasty, disinformation, and substitution

/ 04:01 AM July 20, 2021

Despite the clamor for reforms, our electoral system is still plagued by violence and corruption which we often refer to as the use of “guns, goons, and gold” by traditional politicians or “trapos.” Since 2016, we saw the emergence of a new disturbing trend that features the following: brazen promotion of political dynasties, vicious use of digital tools to manipulate voters, and circumvention of laws by devious candidates. It can be summed up as the election tactic relying on “dynasty, disinformation, and substitution.”

Political dynasties have been ruling the country for the longest time, and it angers us to note that the new breed of power-hungry politicians continues to be remorseless and shameless in replicating the discredited careers of their elders. They are behind the army of trolls and mercenary influencers spreading hate speech and fake news. They even bastardize the electoral process by normalizing a candidacy based on substitution.

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This borderline illegal election strategy threatens to undermine the 2022 election, and we have no one to blame but President Duterte. He treats the Office of the President like a family legacy that he can directly bequeath to his daughter. Worse, he has the audacity to name himself as a vice presidential candidate even if this could potentially spark a constitutional crisis. Mr. Duterte was a “substitute” candidate in 2016 and if his ploy succeeds, he could end up as the “substitute” president in 2022.

This should be the main political issue of the day, but the government’s cyber army is flooding the internet with inane comments, misleading narratives, and outright lies aimed at distracting netizens, building consensus based on deception, and gaslighting critics.

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Mr. Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address might turn into a cheap premature campaigning platform which is a disservice to citizens and a betrayal of his mandate. Mr. Duterte and his apologists may claim that he is merely interested in public service, but we all know that this is a desperate move to avoid accountability once his term as president is finished in 2022.

Even Mr. Duterte has conceded that he has “nothing” to show for his presidency. It is odd that his next move after this admission is to offer himself as a candidate again. He should rethink his last year in office, which should be devoted to addressing the people’s demand for a better pandemic response, economic recovery, good governance, and justice.

MONG PALATINO
Chairperson
Bayan NCR

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TAGS: 2022 national elections, candidate substitutions, disinformation, Letters to the Editor, Mong Palatino, political dynasties
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