Ms. Lani Mercado a congressional representative and the wife of Bong Revilla, a senator charged of plunder at the Office of Ombudsman said, she is in favor of the elimination of the PDAF (pork barrel) provided her constituents stop asking for money. Lani’s comments went viral on the internet. From the netizen’s perspective, she seemed to claim the public money as her own. However, looking at her comments on the other angle, Lani just spouted off one grim truth of realpolitik. Just as there are corrupt politician there are also sucker voter. Just as corruption immersed in the Filipino culture, so are leeches, sycophants and bloodsuckers electorates to suck dry the politicians during the election time.
Now that the Supreme Court declared the PDAF as unconstitutional, the Mercados and the Revillas would think twice to run again. Without the PDAF, it would be difficult for them to recoup their investment. Whereas before the politicians just gives in to the D & E Class voters request for monies for this and that and whatnot to the point that these bloodsuckers transform the election period as cottage industry. Yet, the politicians could still make a handsome profit once elected because of the PDAF. With the chopping of the PDAF, the death of the vicious cycle of vote buying and vote selling becomes imminent.
The killing of the PDAF is a great disincentive for the “trapo” lawmakers, as they would have to contend to the vulture culture of the D & E Class voters, only to get nothing in return. They despise that. Therefore, these “trapo” politicians would shelve their intention until the situation gets better. They would wait for some ingenious way comes around to skirt the ruling of the Supreme Court to revive the PDAF in some other form.
However, for those aspiring lawmakers whose mission is to make the Philippine’s political system become mature, the PDAF’s death is a lynch pin that could change the Philippine’s political dynamics. The Filipino dream of an egalitarian system enjoyed by the Western democracies has the chance make it a reality. The scrapping of PDAF is a great opportunity for the noble lawmakers to burn the rubber on the road. How?
Gone are the days when the Philippines political system produced great political leaders in the mode of the Rectos, the Dioknos, the Magsaysays with nationalistic fervor and great enthusiasm for good public service. During the 1935 Constitution the two-party system spearheaded the development of party principle attuned to the people’s need. During election, people voted on candidates who belong to the party whose principle would serve them better. Had it not been that Ferdinand Marcos destroyed this two-party system with his Martial Law, this two-party system had become fully mature by now. Then the 1987 Cory Constitution replaced the 1935 Constitution, which caused the multi-party system and where the PDAF system started.
The death of PDAF could usher in the comeback of the two-party political system. Individual representatives, who belong to different parties, could not make a beeline to the Executive Branch to carry out projects for his/her constituencies. They have to group themselves together to make a strong representation for the execution of their line up projects. Likewise, the party in power composed also of different stripes and colors will have to bind as one to execute the projects of their own. The battle between the two emerging parties then will be the party’s principles and ideologies that separate them. Personal politics would be out.
Here is the kicker. Make the government subsidized these parties under stringent rules, and put in a mechanism that espouses party principles and ideologies geared towards the egalitarian system just like the Western democracies. This would lead to political maturity. Also, enhance the party’s chance to make it to the poll by accepting members of impeccable credentials. Moreover, election related expenses should be the responsibilities of the party. This would eliminate the prospect of a candidate succumbing to the vulture culture of the D & E Class voters.