Sunday, April 22, 2012

Manny Pacquiao Joins PDP-Laban: The Wrong Angle On The Right Political Development

A couple of days ago, it was broadly announced in Philippine news media that Congressman Manny Pacquiao had joined the  Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN).

In saying that this is the wrong angle to take on a right development, I want to point out that while it can be claimed that Manny's joined PDP-LABAN because of its "ideology and platform", there seems to have been no evidence of any publicly available record of discussion over ideology or platform between the boxer and leaders of the political party.

If there were such a record and I haven't discovered it yet, it would be interesting to find out how the Pacquiao had encountered, come to terms with and eventually accepted PDP-LABAN's ideology -- which I guess is summed up in its Five Principles:
The Five Basic Party Principles 
1. Theism
2. Authentic Humanism
3. Enlightened Nationalism
4. Democratic Centrist Socialism
5. Consultative and Participative Democracy
Pacquiao's joining PDP-LABAN on the basis of ideology would be a step in the right direction because one of the hallmarks of our backward Philippine political culture is an almost absolute lack of principled politics or principled politicians.

As described in Wikipedia, a principle is:

A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting system's designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of which would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored. 
Examples of principles: 
a descriptive comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption
a normative rule or code of conduct,
a law or fact of nature underlying the working of an artificial device

Then again, as far as political principles are concerned, I guess anything can pass as a principle to Filipinos who voted for the likes of Joseph Estrada, Fernando Poe Jr., Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, Lani Mercado, Lucy Torres Gomez, and others.

But, anyway, the principles themselves aren't as important as how they are articulated and applied.  The best expression or manifestation of ideology would perhaps be in the form of policies such as actual legislation, resolutions, or votes on certain issues.

Barring that, perhaps it would also come in the form of a platform of government or a legislative agenda.

So far, I haven't seen PDP-Laban's platform of government or a legislative agenda and so I wonder what it is exactly that gave Pacquiao a reason or reasons to join the political party?  In the coming days, if either the PDP Laban Platform of Government or Legislative Agenda doesn't turn up, it would tend to give rise to the speculation that all the hype over Pacquiao's joining PDP-Laban is just that -- hype.

Right now, with the way things are, discussions about the run up to the 2013 elections still centers around the personalities who are running for office.

And being personality driven rather than driven by principles, political support will gravitate around personalities and give rise to more of the personality centered factionalism we see today.

With each going their separate directions or becoming embroiled in turf wars, how can we expect this administration to move forward in one direction or another?

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