[OPINION] How to defeat Marcos

Our presidential and centralized form of government gives broad powers to the president. He is not only the chief executive, but is the appointing authority for all staff in the executive department, which encompasses all departments, offices, agencies, and all other organs of government. He or she is not only the chief enforcer of laws and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but also the chief architect of the direction of the country’s foreign policy. With all the powers and privileges vested in it, the Presidency is for all intents and purposes a veritable repository of governmental powers that surpasses any other person in government.

This is why the presidential election is the competition that arouses the most attention and interest. Naturally, in the upcoming national elections in May 2022, presidential candidates are the ones subject to the most rigorous public scrutiny.

The campaign period for the 2022 national elections began on Tuesday, February 8. Motorcades and proclamation rallies marked the day. Of the 11 presidential bets included by the Electoral Commission’s final list for the 2022 elections, Ping Lacson, Bongbong Marcos, Manny Pacquiao, Isko Moreno, Leni Robredo and Ka Leody De Guzman are considered strong contenders. Based on a number of poll surveys, Bongbong Marcos is shaping up to be the main contender. But it’s time for others to catch up, especially Vice President Leni Robredo, who has been endorsed by the Makabayan coalition as the best bet to defeat the Marcos-Duterte ticket.

A broken political system

Our political experience over the years shows that personality, political apparatus and monetary policy take precedence over government programs in getting elected to elected office. This is why celebrities, corrupt politicians and political dynasts continue to be elected election after election. It doesn’t matter that these candidates don’t offer a viable and credible government program that will tackle societal problems. For the most part, politics is a means of amassing wealth and power, not a vehicle for public service. For many voters, elections are entertainment, a temporary respite from the drudgery and monotony of daily life, or to earn a few dollars off the candidates.

What is important to a large part of the electorate is immediate gratification, entertainment and money-making, not advancing the interests of the country or the future of future generations. Many are unfortunately resigned to the same form of politics, so the voting preference is influenced by cynicism and skepticism that no matter what, things won’t change. That is why whoever best capitalizes on the weaknesses and flaws of the failing system will make the most of it.

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How to defeat Marcos

The biggest task for presidential candidates trying to catch front-runner Marcos (hopefully his lead has shrunk considerably since December) is to differentiate themselves not only from Marcos but also from each other. On the company’s platform and vision, only Ka Leody seems capable of doing so, with the other candidates essentially offering the same old solutions to our problems, offering themselves as leaders of a hopelessly compromised political and economic system. .

None of the “mainstream” candidates offers solutions that tackle the roots of social inequality in our society, the roots of our social conflicts, solutions that would reject the aggression of development and choose sustainability as the basis for decisions economics, and of course solutions for our distorted politics that marginalizes political parties and enthrones celebrities and political dynasties.

Interestingly, while pretending to care about the youth vote, none of the candidates make a strong case for it, such as offering radical solutions to our educational challenges and the climate crisis. . There is still time to do this but if this is not done, there will be no voting by young people separate from their parents and their geographical regions.

The economic and political system of the country is rotten – bulok – at its core. The strength of the Marcos candidacy is explained by the state of this system; it is a product of this system. Unless a candidate offers a clear path out of this rotten system, why will voters choose him? Wouldn’t it just make sense to stick to the rotten ones/bulok candidates if the others are just going to keep the system as it is anyway?

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Radical change needed

What we need is genuine radical love not based on personalities but on a vision of radical structural change.

We need a shift in mindset and values ​​through sustained voter education coupled with the institutionalization of transformative and meaningful structural and systemic reforms by giving substance to the anti-dynasty provision of the constitution, the establishment of a two-party, non-personality-centric system based on ideological moorings, prohibition of reversal, and a no frills and unrestricted prosecution of violators of election law such as vote buying and other forms of voter fraud, among others . This will go a long way to correcting a broken electoral system and a damaged political culture that have long plagued our society.

Beyond political reforms, we also need radical economic and social reforms. Unfortunately, with the exception of Ka Leody, we get the same old ideas from the other candidates, for example a reaffirmation of neoliberal ideas on the liberalization and privatization of the economy or the discredited approach to environmental issues based on weighing costs and benefits, when what we need stands for environmental and climate justice.

This is not a rant, but a challenge to other campaigns. Give us a radical alternative not only to Marcos but to our rotten and bulok system! It’s the only way to defeat Marcos. – Rappler.com

Tony La Viña is the Associate Director of Climate Policy and International Relations at the Manila Observatory. He also teaches law and is a former dean of the Ateneo School of Government.

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