Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Nov 20 2017 01:21 AM

Rodrigo Duterte won the 2016 presidential elections on the slogan of “Tapang at Malasakit” and “Tunay na Pagbabago”. A year and a half later, nothing has been seen but bloodshed. He said he could solve criminality in 3 to 6 months, he could not.
The President is consistent in making promises he cannot keep, always finding a way to put the blame on someone or something other than himself. Now, he would want us to believe that his failures are attributed to the corruptibility of the constitution and our laws. He wants to abolish them by having a revolutionary government (RevGov) and we just couldn’t buy that.

What a Revolutionary Government Entails

A revolutionary government entails the dismantling of our constitution and the consolidation of power into one man. It sees democratic institutions as hindrances to development rather than the safeguard of welfare. 

Is a revolutionary government, however, really the solution to all our problems and are we suddenly going to live happily ever after when a revolutionary government is put in place? The indisputable answer to this is a loud and resounding no.

It is a lie that we will have the ability to cure most of our problems when we have a one-man rule. For one, absolute power corrupts absolutely. No matter the noble intention of that one man, the absence of checks & balances in a revolutionary government does not give us the ability to check and correct his actions when he is already in the wrong. Morality, after all, is dynamic; it can change and it can be influenced by people with vested interests.
Two, assuming he is the next messiah with nothing but pure intentions, he cannot logistically do everything on his own. And because there are no checks and balances in place, the probability of those he will employ to be corrupt is extremely high.

Our democracy might be problematic as of the moment but it doesn’t mean that there is no development and that there are no initiatives to further improve it. And, the fact remains that the scenario without it is worse because we will no longer be in control of our own fates.

The Attempt to Establish a Revolutionary Government

Strongmen today are attempting to consolidate power by making people believe that X is their enemy and that they should rally behind them, e.g. Trump and populism and Duterte’s war on drugs. Unfortunately for Duterte, his war on drugs lost steam and it was eventually rejected by the people so he has to find a new X.

Rodrigo Duterte found a new enemy in the form our constitution and laws and he using all government machinery to convince the people that such is their enemy too.

The Problem with Democracy

While it is true that Philippine democracy has failed the marginalized for the longest time, it is a failure attributed to who and how the democracy was facilitated and not the concept of democracy per se.

These are the inherent risks of a democracy because we are allowed the freedom to choose who governs us and sometimes we choose wrongly. 

But the beauty of democracy is we are allowed to correct our mistakes. We learn from our history and try not to repeat it. However, even at this, we sometimes we fail too - but we try again, hopeful that the next leaders we choose are better than the last.

All democracies struggled before they progressed anyway; the difficulty is a normal part of the process. It is an essential learning experience for us to appreciate truly what democracy is. 

What can be done, what do we do?

A democracy provides numerous alternatives to the problems that the RevGov want to address. Democracy allows us to have a discussion and create legislation to best solve societal ills such as lack of opportunity, poverty, traffic, and corruption. It also allows us to remove ineffective government officials and punish corrupt ones.

Democracy is imperfect and difficult but it is the best compromise we can have. It is an output of humanity’s history and a manifestation of our learned experiences. It is what protects us from forces that want to abuse us and it is what gives power to the people.

Our freedoms and rights are enabled by our democracy and because there will be those who will want to take our rights and freedoms away, we have the responsibility to protect it and make sure it is kept; for, once taken, it will not only be difficult, it will also be bloody to regain.
No to rev gov!

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