OPINION: Is the Liberal Party debasing Philippine democracy?

Buddy Gomez

Posted at Dec 23 2016 12:07 AM

Is the Liberal Party (LP) asleep?

Asleep at the Opposition’s wheel, that is. Lethargy is injurious, you know! Have they forgotten about the solemn role they must now perforce perform, having been reduced to a minority, after the last election’s defeat? 

The largest of the minorities in a body politic represents the leadership of the Opposition. But is the Liberal Party leading the opposition as society’s watchdog, in exacting accountability of those holding the reins of administration? Is the Liberal Party shoring up the people’s morale, promoting political consciousness and standing up for the better interests of the people--thus invigorating democracy? 

A misinformed population, abetted by the Opposition’s silence, begets an ignorant society. A misinformed citizenry is a threat to democracy. Thus, an “Opposition” behaving otherwise debases and diminishes democracy!

Is the Liberal Party fit and in fighting form? In fighting back form, that is! 

The Duterte administration with all government facilities and perks at its command, aided by its rabid cohorts, mercenary cyber warriors and idolaters, all from their so-called “sixteen million,” are engaged in a rampaging, wanton abuse and molestation of the truth. It is no different, perhaps even a more evil reinforcement of the very manner by which a plurality allowed Duterte his victory at the polls. They gloat over their Faustian mastery of social media! This highly orchestrated social media disinformation barrage is indeed a frontal assault upon democracy. 

To be complacent is to be complicit! What is the Liberal Party doing about this travesty? Is the Liberal Party asleep at the Opposition’s wheel? When will the Liberal Party lead again? What must the Party do when society is assaulted by lies and disinformation?

Archibald MacLeish and Ninoy

The martyred Ninoy Aquino was a Senator of the Republic and the secretary-general of the Liberal Party when the darkness of Martial Law descended upon our Motherland. After having lectured and served a fellowship at Harvard during his exile in the early 1980’s, Ninoy was wont to quote the celebrated poet and Harvard lawyer, Archibald McLeish.

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by Truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always and in the final act, by faith and determination.”

Please ponder upon MacLeish and ask: How has the Liberal Party measured up?

Have we heard an official stand against the Duterte-inspired extra-judicial killings? Against the obscene attacks and the orchestrated blitzkrieg of calumny, mudslinging and slut-shaming of a lady Senator? Has the Liberal Party officially come out in staunch defense of the abused and mortally molested Leila de Lima?

Duterte’s Bogus Data, once more with feeling! And that other IED!

This national issue has truly required effective, corrective drilling into the suckered thick skulled in our midst, mainly belonging to the so-called Duterte’s “sixteen million.” So, once again, with greater feeling. 

The nation’s sense of well-being and equanimity may very well depend upon an appreciation and acceptance of the Truth, the unburnished truth about the illegal drug situation in the country. After all, by precipitate Duterte police action, fear has already been strewn amongst a vast majority of the population. We must not forget that the problem’s concocted and hyped severity is the unrivalled cause celebre of Duterte’s performance. In reality, it is nothing more than a continuing attempt to pass on his demented “drug war” as artifice and substitute for governance.

Besides enjoying the residual inertia, and in fact enjoying the direct benefits and vibrant fruition, flowing from programs, projects, initiatives and activities of the preceding Aquino administration falling into place only after the 2016 elections, Duterte has really nothing to show except for turbulence in much of everything he has touched!

The Philippines like most nations on planet earth has an illegal drugs problem. “The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm….to our society.” (James Taylor) Beyond doubt, it is evil and a cause for alarm. There is absolutely no way that this human concern can ever be swept away. We are, however, not a narco-state as some highly placed imbecile has been ranting. Illegal drugs do not encapsulate the only problem the country faces. Neither is it the major and principal problem. Poverty is. Don’t we know it! Poverty is the root of it all! That is the barest, irreducible truth.

Our great misfortune is that the illegal drugs problem in the country has been exaggerated and further manufactured to the magnitude of a bugaboo, a lethal straw man, especially created to insanely justify one man’s pathological blood lust. He started and pulled off from thin air 3 million addicts! And in a matter of weeks, his recent scare shrill, it is now 4 million! 

In the meantime, the death toll has exceeded 6,000 (and counting) in less than 6 months! And don’t we all remember, Duterte bragging about happily desirous of slaughtering three million more, ala Hitler!

Official statistics from both the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency deny President Duterte’s numbers. The empirical data have remained, happily, undisturbed. The actual number stands at 1.8 million. The highest incidence of addiction was in 2004 when the count went up to 6.7 million addicts. 

Government was evidently hard at work since. That prevalence has been tamed down dramatically to 1.8 million in 2015, without hype, ballyhoo nor breast-beating political histrionics! In fact, Drug Raids, Arrests and Rehab activities were at its highest during the Aquino years! 

Shouldn't the Liberal Party have spearheaded an investigation into this anomaly right off, unmasking it as a monumental hoodwink of the people?

Bogus data is the raison d’etre, the anchor of President Duterte’s rants. Such frenzy of blatant falsehood foisted upon a gullible people would have otherwise been a call to arms for an Opposition fit and furious to pick the fight. A red flag! 

But why has the Liberal Party not challenged the President? I am perplexed. I am demoralized. The immediacy of a vigorous response to Duterte’s hullucinations not being taken up by the Opposition, is a social service opportunity lost. Silence has become a disservice to democracy!

The incalculable damage that Duterte’s ‘drug war’ (including ramifications into trumped up accusations and charges, humiliation and vilification of party mate Sen. Leila de Lima) brought upon the reputation and well-being of our country, ought to have already shaken off the apparent browbeaten stupor besetting the Liberal Party after its defeat in the last elections. But must an IED (improvised explosive device) first be detonated in their butts for them to have acted? 

Or are they in mortal fright of Duterte’s IED? President Duterte is suspected of severely suffering from IED, an inevitable side effect of his favorite pain-killing opiate--Fentanyl. That other IED is “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” which psychiatrists describe as “behavioral disorder characterized by explosive outbursts of anger and violence.”

Quo Vadis, Liberal Party!

Time is past nigh for the Liberal Party, both as a collective and/or as individuals, to break off and unleash from vainly leeching off that Duterte-dominated lapdog legislative Supermajority from whose imagined trough for selfish personal expediencies they expect to slop-feed from. 

There is unfailing awareness on the part of civil society of this continuing perfidy, more indecent even in its recidivism, of LP politicians abandoning their party, by whose loyal constituencies they had, in truth, won their elective posts. Such gratitude! It is a shameless display of expedience over moral values and democratic faith. Inevitably, it has led to the loss of people’s respect. Hence, there is people’s anger and disquiet apparently rising. Eager voices galore in search of leadership. Indeed, a call for a grand coalition against a common foe becomes incumbent. Will the Liberal Party lead?

The LP must not be insensitive. There are now many issues around which the Liberal Party can lead a reinvigorated coalition from which to consolidate; and, from which to radiate and campaign nationwide for new stalwart memberships as it rekindles fervor among the remaining faithful, an apostolate for the renewal of democratic commitment--all of which can define, redefine and refine the Liberal Party.

We now have issues of Federalism, Constitutional Reform, the Death Penalty, Sen. De Lima’s calvary, the UN Rapporteur’s investigation of Extra-Judicial Killings, the Drug War itself, the poorly veiled super-uber left (communist plot) ‘Kilusang Pagbabago.’ The country may again be primed and readied for an issues-driven politics as it was in 1946 with the debate over Parity Rights.

These are political kindlings awaiting the spark that will ignite a resurgence of democratic vigor. Of faith in democracy! Of loyalty to Party and its values!

Quo Vadis, Liberal Party? 

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.