2012

Political Stability

The Philippines is now reaping political stability. In 2012, the Aquino Administration pursued several key reforms. The impeachment of Renato C. Corona, the passage of the Sin Tax measure, the Reproductive Health Bill, and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the impending passage— hopefully— of the Freedom of Information Act, which passed in the Senate the same day Congress passed the RH Bill. These are all key reforms in the third year of President Benigno Aquino III’s presidency. With the exception of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, these reforms are important, and proceeding towards the right direction. On the economic front, the government is reporting growth in Gross Domestic Product. And things seem to look up for importers with the strong peso, and exporters reeling at it.

All this of course is marked by relative political stability. The high popularity of the President— insane approval ratings— by far the strongest showing of any President at least in the last 30 years. And with the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill, will certainly lead to an even stable popularity rating. And the reform agenda continues.

Yet on the horizon is the 2013 mid-term elections. And if surveys hold true— this popularity by the president doesn’t extend to his party. In fact, the high marks the President is getting doesn’t seem to have a halo effect.

The insane debate in the Senate— highlighted by livestreaming and the Internet and cable news— hasn’t tickled down to the rest of the electorate. They seem satisfied with the name recognition of the likes of Enrile, Estrada, Honasan, Pimentel and others. And the President’s party members, including his own cousin isn’t getting anything.

Does this political reality highlight the aristocracy-like setting of our nation’s politics? With the Golden-Lion Throne that is the President of the Philippines versus the Royal Houses of the Landstradd in the guise of the Philippine Congress? That the President dictates the moral, and political direction of the country, and no matter who is in both chambers of Congress, so long as the guy on top is running the show, then it reflects the government as a whole?

How then is this important as we inevitably must head towards 2016? Does this mean, we must shop around for a candidate with President Aquino’s moral compass, but with much more gravitas, and youthful vigor? What then does this tell us if we vote otherwise?