Monday, December 01, 2003

The Price of Democracy

Once more an actor has decided to run for the presidency of the Philippines. And once more, the middle class and the educated classes complain about how events mar their vision of politics in the Philippines. I suppose that somehow, this is not how they thought of democracy.

Instead of losing hope and cursing, I celebrate the fact that an actor can become president of the Philippines. It means that democracy is working. The most popular candidate is winning. No one can contest that when Joseph Ejercito Estrada or Erap ran for president he did get the most votes from the people. The poor people that is. Erap para sa mahihirap. And the poor voted for him and sent him to Malacanang.

And let's not forget that before the presidency, Ramos picked Erap as his running-mate for the elections. Erap paid his dues just like any political candidate. He played second fiddle and let the spotlight shine on Ramos. He served willingly and ably as a vice-president.

I gave Erap the benefit of the doubt. After all, he became a politician under the wing of Marcos. I figured, of course he will be good. He learned all the mistakes one can do with Marcos. Instead, Erap just proceeded to once more take advantage of the Philippines. He took what Marcos did in 21 years and proceeded to do it in two years. Corruption and pare politics were back in style.

Thank God for Edsa 2. The people elected him. The people took him out. What was the reason for Edsa 2 again? Oh yeah, Chavit Singson charged him with being the Lord of the Jueteng Lords. Geez, almost makes him mystical. Lord of the Jueteng. Can we make a movie out of that?

Yes, most likely, Fernando Poe Jr will be manipulated and will be corrupt. Yes, he will most likely ally himself with the same allies that Erap had. Yes, he will probably rape and pillage again.

But candidates like FPJ are the price of democracy. We bitch and moan about how bad he will be. But at least we have a choice. Aquino is savoring this moment. People can choose the candidate. Marcos is shaking his head. People can choose the candidate.

So let's get ready for the next election. It will be bumpy and sketchy. But hey, we got a choice.

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