Unlike the song Noel which we sing during the season of giving, No-El 2019, on the other hand, is celebrated by a few together with the season of taking. The taking of the rights of the people to be represented. Let No-El be known as the manifestation of greed exercised by people who have vested interests to consolidate power within themselves.
Elections are in the heart of every democracy. It is our guarantee that the government remains to be the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A representative democracy, which the Philippines promotes, is best characterized by the people’s ability to participate in choosing their public officials. This is to compensate for their inability to have an active role in lawmaking and legislature because of obvious logistical concerns. And since the people do not directly vote on bills and laws unlike direct democracies, the people at the very least are able to rest their confidence on the fact that they get to choose the leaders who vote on their behalf.
The 2019 Mid-term elections are important because it gives the people the opportunity to respond to the changing tides in the economy, society, and politics. It enables them to participate in a system of government where they get to decide what changes in leadership they want. Senators up for re-election, for example, may no longer represent what the ordinary Filipino gives importance to, while the remaining 12 senators who are not up for re-elections might not be enough to represent the vast interests of the citizens. Thus, the need for mid-term elections arises.
More than the reasons stated above as to why mid-term elections are important, mid-term elections are also enshrined and guaranteed by the Constitution. Meaning, it has been debated and agreed on by governments of the past that to protect the fundamental rights of Filipinos, the government must guarantee mid-term elections. Therefore, to revoke the people’s right to vote is not only impractical, it is also unconstitutional.
The role of public officials is not limited to their job descriptions. The reason why they are regarded highly in society is that they are given the responsibility to protect the very fabric of our democracy. In line with this, public officials have expressed opposition to the idea of a No-El 2019 including Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Sen. Ralph Recto, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Rep. Tom Villarin, Rep. Sarah Elago, Rep. Gary Alejano while only two solons have expressed support towards it. According to the Vice President, “As leaders, we are not the boss, we are the voice of ordinary Filipinos. Once we remove the right of ordinary Filipinos to choose who will represent them, where is the democracy there?”
Moreover, some opposition lawmakers warned about the possibility of having Duterte and Congress members extending their terms for 10 more years once federalism reaches full swing, which is the said basis of No-El 2019.
Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.