Kapatiran’s boycott call
“Voters urged to reject calls for poll boycott” (News, 10/28/15) reported that the Commission on Elections believes a poll boycott would “hurt the democratic rights of every individual heeding such a call” and “take one’s self out of the political equation and question of who is going to lead the county.”
In its Nov. 1 issue, the Inquirer ran a story on an interview with Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (“Joma Sison: Polls a farce but don’t boycott it,” News). Sison reportedly suggested that “there is no need to apply a policy of boycott on these elections… unless the process is as bad as the 1981 and 1984 elections of the Marcos dictatorship.”
Kapatiran Party disagrees with both positions.
The Comelec’s position presupposes, as it should, that all is well in our political and electoral system, hence, voters should simply exercise their right to suffrage. Sison’s, on the other hand, takes off from the context of taking down a government.
Kapatiran’s is about securing our future under the same democratic foundation we now enjoy by rallying a collective voice urging the next administration to clear the way for system change by convening a Constitutional Convention to examine and propose revisions to the 1987 Constitution.
Kapatiran Party’s Oct. 26 launch of its “Boycott 2016: A call for system change” must have induced talks of the poll boycott.
Our initiative is peaceful and lawful. It does not in any way aspire to a failure of elections; in 2016, we shall have a change in leadership and a changing of the guard. But while we see the national leadership again passed on to a new hand, we also need to accept that our present system is not sound. We need to rebuild our ship, so to speak, and set sail anew toward our coveted goal.
To do this, we need to remedy and put an end to our kind of politics which breeds deceit, corruption, political dynasties, celebrity politics, the politics of personalities, pork barrel, guns, goons and gold, and electoral shenanigans; politics that discourages the formation of responsible political parties.
A shift to parliamentary-federal system or other systems and the embodiment of the many positive provisions of the 1987 Constitution in self-executing form are two key components of the call for system change.
In the 2010 and 2013 elections, 75 percent of the total number of registered voters went to the polls. Kapatiran’s call aims to significantly bring down voter turnout. The drop will be a barometer of the people’s loss of confidence in the present political and electoral system, and will serve as basis for renewed hope in the future.
Voters need to rethink their instinct to vote come election time. They need to discern their options: to vote and complete the ballot; to vote to ensure that the lesser evil and/or only the good ones in their mind win; or to call for system change by boycotting the elections. The latter needs strong and popular voice because without it government will not take notice and listen.
The future of a new Philippines lies in the citizens’ appreciation of the root cause of the problems besetting this nation and their thorough understanding of Boycott 2016, whose rationale can be accessed via our Facebook page of the same name.
—NORMAN CABRERA, president, Kapatiran Party, [email protected]
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