[OPINION] May Day Eve 1

[OPINION] May Day Eve

Dean Dela Paz

Posted at May 05 2022 12:04 AM

In Nick Joaquin’s May Day Eve, when the main character looked at a mirror and recited a mystical incantation to see what the future foretold, the image of a demon appeared. Among its other themes Joaquin’s is a tale of disillusionment. To ascribe such to what may happen in the next few days is however an understatement. The battle royale is not about Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Leonor Robredo where the loss of one may cause disillusionment. The stakes are infinitely higher. May 2022 is about regaining our democracy.

In this virtual eve of the presidential elections as we prepare to cast votes that could either perpetuate a legacy of incompetence, deadly state violence, crony capitalism and plunder by reintroducing into our fledgling democracy a grown seed from which these were first spawned half a century ago, or one that might overwhelm the dark side, regain the democratic ideal and install a true representative who mirrors all that is good in each of us, allow us to take our bearings.

Keeping in mind that a resurrected ghost of a distant past once more lurks among us, it does not matter whether we are facing the darkest clouds looming overhead or that a bright golden day might miraculously break over the hills, uncertainty remains. Again, we are confronted with a morality play and the stark choices should be easy to determine, but they are not. Not where both sides provide hopes based on promises, their bases either ephemeral and effervescent for one, or empirical and experiential for the other. One based on imagery, the other on fact.

Fundamentally weakened where our democracy has been waylaid by Draconianism whose default governance for everything from the economy and healthcare to traffic and trade, is to impose brute and iron-fisted police powers, allow us a quick analysis using an old management tool called the Kepner Tregoe SAPADAPPA.

It starts with a situation analysis (SA) to draw out concerns, followed by problem analysis (PA) which defines a problem and its causes. The third stage is a decision analysis (DA) where risks are attached to every alternative drawn as responses. The final stage is the potential problem analysis (PPA). Differentiated from stage two, this identifies potential problems that result from the best alternative.

From crowdsourcing a plethora of possibilities both positive and negative, our SA shows overwhelming conditionalities. These include but are not limited to issues of credibility demanded of our authorities that start with the trivial such as the choice of a single logistics provider, who quite ironically has a short umbilical to the powers that be. From thereon issues escalate in severity.

Include in the analysis where the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms is related to a presidential candidate. Add where relevant electoral arbiters and tribunals for election issues are majority populated by either partisan lawmakers or inexperienced appointees. Trace and discern documented political party and business linkages to the election logistics provider who incidentally controls the third largest telecommunications network through which sensitive election data might be processed and transmitted. These lines are not dotted. They are thick and bold.

Note the concentration of specific executive and judicial powers. Add unfortunate vitriol that stifle opinion and strangle our sacred and constitutionally protected freedom of expression. Note chilling declarations that quell fair commentary and our prayers for fairness. Democracy depends on free speech. While suffrage is one of the most glorious features of our democracy, we must remember that so are essential rights necessary to keep democracy alive. We cannot trade one off for the other.

After years in the doldrums between elections, see where our voter’s lists remain unreliable, official records a continuing mess. Finally, recall our experiences and the recent controversies in the United States with similar ballot counting hardware, its maintenance, vintage, and the company behind these machines.

From square one to our final venues for judicial recourse, our PA quickly segues to the DA where both show we still have to do more to address the range of unsettled concerns. In one of the most critical elections since we regained our democracy in 1986, where so much is at stake, primordial challenges remain that demand our vigilance.

Consider the combinations and permutations of each of these collectively. The control of the May elections coagulates around those either intent on perpetuating their legacy or reinforcing it from seminal DNA from a distant past.

Even as we completely surrender our trust and confidence to inexperienced officials, their competence, their honesty, and moral fiber, invoking the Almighty in all we do that our admonitions are ad majorem Dei gloriam, as god-fearing citizens dutybound to protect our democracy, we continue to pray that next week a different May Day mirror-image appears where true representative democracy prevails and we indeed see, not a demon, but ourselves reflected back.

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(Dean dela Paz is a former investment banker and a managing director of a New Jersey-based power company operating in the Philippines. He is the chairman of the board of a renewable energy company and is a retired Business Policy, Finance and Mathematics professor.)

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