Nature of Political Parties in the Philippines


No one likes to be judged by mere appearances. That said, we may as well say that we should not judge a candidate’s worth based on which political party he belongs to. After all, being affiliated to a party has its own curses and blessings.

In the political arena of the Philippines, history tells us that there are more negative aspects than positive ones on being affiliated to a political party.

The issue of party came to my mind following the departure of Chiz Escudero, a presidential aspirant in the 2010 elections, from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). Some pundits are quick to conclude that for Escudero leaving NPC he has just committed a “political suicide.”

It sounds logical to say that Escudero’s surprising decision was a political suicide. That is for people who surmise that winning an election depends on party affiliations. Or that one’s strength is defined by a party’s backing.

To my mind, political party is nothing but a nonsense group of opportunists. It is composed of fake acquaintances and pretentious friends. People are there because they want to get something out of the party, not because they want to be catalysts of the noble vision of the party.

It is difficult to recall when was the last time the Philippines truly had a genuine political party – I mean a party that really has a specific direction and a set of well-founded principles it adheres to.

Here are some existing political parties in the Philippines with names of corresponding leaders: Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Christian Muslim Democrats (Gloria Arroyo); Nationalist People’s Coalition (Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.); Liberal Party (Manuel Roxas II), Nacionalista Party (Manny Villar), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Satur Ocampo); Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (Aquilino Pimentel Jr.); Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (Erap Estrada); United Opposition (Jejomar Binay); Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Edgardo Angara); Liberal Party (breakaway) (Lito Atienza); Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (Norberto Gonzales); Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (Ferdinand Marcos Jr.); Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (breakaway) (Jose de Venecia Jr.); and People’s Reform Party (Miriam Defensor-Santiago). And there are nearly a hundred other regional, minor, or party-list groups whose names we only find in election forms.

We have too many parties – and it is not helping us as a nation. Whenever there is a conflict of interest within a party, we can expect that a new party (also called a breakaway party) will be formed. Thus, the number of party groups is on the rise.

More often than not, a new political party is formed by those who were left behind at the choosing of a party’s official candidate in an election, not that they wanted to make a difference in our society so they established their own group.

At the national level, the emergence of new political parties is a strong sign of a widespread dissatisfaction among members of the same group. Since there is no law that prohibits the creation of a new party and we are not a two-party system country, politicians are confident that, with their money, they can always form a new party if they don’t get what they want.

In the U.S., we don’t hear of a Hilary Clinton forming a new political party because she was not nominated as the presidential standard bearer of the Democrats. It could have been a different story if Mrs. Clinton were a Filipino politician.

At the local level, it is even more difficult to talk about the essence political parties. The sad thing is that it has always been an issue of who the highest bidder is. Without a doubt, the affiliation of a local candidate to a particularly party is solely based on financial attachment. Nothing else, truth to tell.

Those who truly want to serve our people must be sustained by the patriotic principles they adhere to, not by the support of their disappearing party.

Those who are desirous to become public servants cannot just be sustained by the indulgence of their political party but by the mandate of the people – for the interest of the common good

Source by Stan Debohol


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