Like almost everything we mourn, dead and gone, he came with fond memories, born with good intentions and raised by a few really good people. In today’s great political arena, both are rapidly becoming rare. Even non-existent in some organizations.
One was a handful of community neighbors who first bonded to protect the solemnity of a parish from becoming a noisy, congested, high-traffic shopping area.
One of the founders was a peace advocate who based his advocacy on his unwavering faith. The other was a famous litigator. Another ran a faith group for married couples. A fourth was an industrialist. The fifth, an investment banker.
The group was seated quite comfortably around a medium sized table. They often met for hearty breakfasts and light dinners. Conversations were light even as they sought impossible solutions to the world’s impossible problems. Themes centered on the common good. It made sense. Around the table, mutual respect, honesty and chemistry were undeniable and in order.
Until strangers break in. Next, on the table sat Judas.
Today, none of the five remain. For the brotherhood finally formed, only the disembodied ghosts of good intentions remain, panting in an oxygen tent under waning palliative care. As the faith-based movement that grew out of close friendships spread to other communities, attempting to confront larger realities, it inadvertently spawned a national political party. The attraction of politics was an alternate alley laden with the curses that politics usually characterized. In the Philippines, that meant guns, goons, and gold—three horsemen of the apocalypse that would eventually infect the noble intentions that founded their movement.
The proverbial bitten apple and the original sin were present at their political genesis. To present themselves as a legitimate political party to the Electoral Commission (COMELEC) which did not verify the veracity of their sworn and certified assurances, they concocted the fiction of having organized regional chapters headed by vice-presidents of party operating through a national network of parishes. . Today, as in its genesis, these only exist on paper. Both misrepresentation and falsification of public documents, it was an ab initio fabricated lie.
Beyond the illegalities and lies founding its sole logistical advantage, as ambitions swelled faster than their current membership of just over ten active members, winning nothing more than a city council seat, their near -nonexistence in the arena of true politik thus grounded serial failures qualifying them as a group of losers.
Embarrassingly, on the eve of the 2022 election, this political party cannot even muster a quorum in its national council let alone hold a sufficient caucus to go beyond biblical quotes and pray that their few candidates are even performing decently in pre-election polls.
They don’t. Their only senatorial candidate who ran in 2010 under the Liberal Party garnered 5.2 million votes, placing him 22nd. He now ranks between 30th and 33rd. If this slot generated 1.9 million votes in 2010, do the math. Ceteris paribus. Now running under this party with no machinery, membership or money, it is self-propelled. Its -50% audience collapsed, proof of the powerless support of this party and its ignorance of campaign dynamics.
In 2013, the party initially fielded two presidential candidates. One of them eventually ran as an independent after COMELEC learned of the party’s disunity and infighting. The two lost with an average of just one million votes between them. Where the senatorial headliners of legitimate parties can garner more than twenty-two million votes, failing to rank that party’s power of attraction is a pathetic failure, cursed by its inactivity in the critical interregna between election periods. .
But too bad. Between them, wearing smooth self-proclaimed titles, they rank. Following the allegory of the big fish in a small pond, rank and titles generate self-indulgent highs.
Maybe winning was never his goal. Perhaps it was to pontificate where a symbolic moment on the pulpit of debate was the chance of a lifetime for those afflicted with pride and a messianic self-image, but confined to concepts of maternity. It is regrettable that COMELEC still allows such a travesty of the electoral system.
But attrition takes its toll on a group of losers. The few get less. Many disengaged, disgusted and disappointed. Others have passed, the old chemistry replaced by aging remnants that sit quietly and obediently opposite those who are brash, brash and self-centered. As the group dynamic dictates, the latter are the noisiest. Even bold enough to prefer a presidential candidate with despotic DNA. How do you peddle a faith-based platform guided by papal edict while supporting pathological proceeds of plunder and crime? The betrayal of fundamental principles is itself dishonest.
Where our political parties have self-destructed, torn apart by betrayals, flip-flops and odious coalitions, a once noble and latent movement infested with delusional egos has become a pathetic laughingstock. Such is the poison of politics.
(Dean dela Paz is a former investment banker and CEO of a New Jersey-based power company operating in the Philippines. He is chairman of the board of a renewable energy company and is a professor at the Business Policy, Finance and Mathematics Retreat. )
Warning: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ABS-CBN Corp.