Prof. Randy David – right side of history?

It must have been at a radio program (Dos por Dos) that Randy’s plan to run for Congress made its first public debut. Although, there was also a reference made of a co-columnist of him who must have made passing mention of such a plan. So, it would seem that radio picked up from where the newspaper left off. And now, it has been all over cyberspace made exponentially manifest that Randy, now the senior citizen that he is, is batting for Congress against the frequent visitor of that legislative district in Pampanga in the person of GMA.

Randy’s running for a congressional seat is premised on the belief that GMA will seek another elective position as a congresswoman as a precondition that she becomes the Speaker of the House of Representatives and eventually to be chosen as the Prime Minister in a Parliament that is now under construction. In other words, Randy aims to throw to her path the single stumbling block for the scenario to be realized. And this upcoming political battle has now been romanticized as being between “David and Gloriath” in the famous David and Goliath biblical fame although in its truest sense, neither David is a young man or a boy nor Gloria one whose height is 6 and a half feet. Be that as it may, it seems that the die is cast.

Who is Prof. Randy David?

Data show that he is a ‘well-respected media figure in the Philippines’. He writes a column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, teaches social theory and political economy at the University of the Philippines, and he used to be founding member of the Third World Studies Center. He has been TV host of – Public Forum, Public Life, and Off the Record. Academically, he is trained in sociology from UP and from the University of Manchester, England where he did his doctoral studies but opted not to finish them during the Marcosian regime.

From where I stand, Randy is best remembered as one of the first victims of Proclamation 1017 when he was arrested on February 25, 2006 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of People Power Revolution.

Proclamation 1017 is supposed to have declared a state of national emergency but the Supreme Court has later declared the arrests as invalid. I can still vividly recall how some plainclothes operatives took him to a car rather forcefully and without being able to recite to Randy, what is the basis of such arrest. I like to think that Randy’s arrest which was to be the single application of Proclamation 1017 effectively set aside any further or subsequent enforcement of the invalid Proclamation.

Moral compulsion must have inspired Randy to run against GMA. He wants the clandestine plan of GMA to be the upcoming Prime Minister to be nipped in the bud. And at least, he would be happy with the thought that there is at least one Pampagueno who posed the single greatest challenge to what appears to be a ‘scheme of fraud’ that is about to unfold. Perhaps, Randy finds inspiration in the fact that Fr. Ed Panlilio won as governor of Pampanga against a pervasive political culture.

In the end, politics in so far as a congressional seat is a contest between two major contenders would be an entirely local affair. And it would be the people of that legislative district in Pampanga who will decide their own local destiny. It would then largely depend on how benefitted they are from the ‘bounties’ that they are being showered with by GMA and the Arroyos.

Viewed differently, it is possible that Randy’s joining a local political battle will instead be magnified in a national scale. In short, it is as if the fight is between GMA and Randy in the national scene. The issues will not be local, they will be national. It has nothing to do with a legislative district in Pampanga alone any more than the national survival of every legislative districts throughout the country had they to fall like dominoes by the ‘push and pull’ of patronage politics.

In other words, Randy has been keenly circumspect that what he is actually raging is a moral battle that every Filipino should be concerned with. And across social classes or intelligences from the A,B,C,D,E – I believe that Randy will be able to send across all available medium the clear message that we all should stand at the right side of history. We should not be content with only the present if short-lived benefits of being showered with all sorts of ‘bounties’ – good only for some 200,000 population at the exclusion of the rest of 40 million more voters and their families.

There is something novel about Randy joining the fray. And I think that it is not so much as earning a seat in Congress any more than being able to pose the greatest challenge to a far more ‘bedevilled’ plan to rationalize staying in power in perpetuity. And if this extends to all her rabid supporters and beneficiaries, then the 40 million voters are well advised to vote wisely come 2010. In fact, 1109 showcases the sad things to come. In this light, Randy’s fight must be our fight, too.