Friday, February 29, 2008

Important Issues on Philippines 2010 Election

Ive been tagged by Reflective Thinking's Janette Toral in a project of hers that seeks to collate bloggers' opinions on important issues on the next Philippine elections in 2010. There are lots of issues that the next presidential candidate needs to address, and perhaps Ms. Toral, after completing her project can get the candidates to present their answers in their own blogs. Off the top of my head, there's the problem of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, the effects of free trade on our farmers (cheap imports of vegetables from China has had a detrimental effect on them for instance), the issue of the Philippine military being deployed against Philippine citizens, the pegging of our economy to the dollar, and the list goes on. But the one issue I would like the candidates to tackle and give a clear, comprehensive, and detailed response is the issue of electoral reform.

Elections are at the heart of our representative democracy and yet we can't seem to get it right. We seem to always be electing representatives who don't represent. The problem it seems to me is that the playing field is not level. The law does not discriminate against who may run as long as they fulfill certain criteria, and it is a very permissive criteria. To run for president for instance you do not need a college degree. You just have to be a natural born citizen of a certain age with no criminal convictions. It doesnt care if youre rich or poor, man or woman, a mechanic or a PhD in physics, and that's fine. However in practice, this is not the case. The Comelec for instance could determine your fitness to run, and again that's fine, assuming a fair Comelec. But the most important criteria is financial resources. You may be the most brilliant person in the country but if you dont have the financial resources to mount a campaign, Comelec could disqualify you. This is grossly unfair. Some candidates even make pacts with unsavory characters who are willing to finance their campaign knowing that these same characters will collect on the favor in the future when they get elected. (During the 1992 presidential campaign that FVR won, a former cabinet assistant secretary working in the campaign of the late speaker Ramon Mitra told this story to me of a jueteng lord who wanted an appointment with the speaker and he told him about it. The speaker refused to speak to the man. The undersecretary said Mitra told him that he didnt want the man collecting on the favor later. Im sure other candidates took the man on his offer.)

The reforms I'd like to see is the elimination of money as a criteria. I have ideas on how this could be done and still allow the candidates to wage a nationwide campaign, but I'd rather hear the candidates' views on how they would implement electoral reform.

That's on the candidates' side. On the voters' side, I once blogged about a thought experiment I had on the right to suffrage, but that would be too radical. Sacrilegious even. It's here. Be sure to check the comments section since cvj of Placeholder had some valid objections to the thought experiment.


cvj said...

Jeg, thanks for the link!

mayorramonguico said...

Yeah! I agree with you there, "There are Important Issues on Philippines 2010 Election" that needs to talk about. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing!