Why run for Congress – a reflection

The contemporary mood, gauging from the number of candidates vying for the presidency, senate, congress, down the line – presupposes a healthy and clear notion of the existence of a leveled playing field reminiscent of the book I am reading entitled, “To Put the House in Order: Let us Level the Playing Field” by Jose T. Almonte.

True or not, let us grant the existence of a ‘Philippine State on a sound democratic footing’ (Almonte: 2007, p 213) or reason why it seems that those new entrants in a dirty and mad political race feel empowered to take that ‘active part in making the political decisions that shape their lives’.

And the race has just begun and COMELEC is on a last-ditch psychopathic mood to trim the long list with each candidate allowed to say their piece. How to determine who is a nuisance candidate from who is not against the backdrop of sufficiently met constitutional requirements must be an exercise in futility – but let things be since it must have been fun.

Let us train our focus on those who run for Congress in so far as the new entrants are concerned. Why, you may ask, are they running? Do we suppose that they have an agenda or platform in mind? It must have been aroused by a crucial sense of civic responsibility on the things that the incumbent politicians or the government itself may have failed to do in the past. They decided to cease to be passive but to make a difference for the common enterprise – our own state of affairs being what they ought to be than what the leaders profit from them.

Truly, any politician running unopposed is not only unhealthy in a democracy. It might even be the height of crippling social contagion that makes the public mere victims of ‘naked power and commanding personalities’. Thus, a good number of well-meaning individuals find themselves throwing their own hats into the political ring. Indeed, we must change our rulers or leaders regularly as a cleansing process altogether. Between the mass electorate, as being superior in number, and the middle class, as the elite that they are, something gets restricted somewhere.

For instance, how does the mass electorate vote in terms of their mental habit or patterns of thought? Are we still in the age of the common man? Truly, their votes are being ‘managed or mismanaged’ by those in control with the end in view that political power must rotate within the old clique without the larger public’s own participation. Almonte surely regrets a resulting ‘straightforward cash-for-votes transaction’ as may be commonplace given a pervasive sense of subservience and servitude embraced by our voting public.

Who are the new emerging elites on whose direction the future is set? They must be those who have abandoned traditional patronage system. They must be those who would not promise a paradise to an easily-fooled mass electorate. They must be those who would truly have a voice in the hallowed halls of Congress and conscience-driven enough to stand for what he thinks is right – not one ordinarily bound by instruction than by conscience.

We need congressmen un-beholden to any particular interest group, any particular political party, any particular ideology. It is high time to think out of the box and to see clearly through the haze and maze of a rotten political culture. Truth is, being congressman is hardly about the compulsion to produce laws or pieces of legislation since all proposals grind through the legislative mill. And laws passed are mere rubber-stamped Malacanang urgent administrative measures. Being a congressman may require doing away with the prescribed project menu for either hard or soft projects as well. The common practice must now be frustrated by a better-thought out utilization of public funds through a high sense of accountability.

It requires tact on how to support proposed bills or resolutions based on their intent. It requires even greater tact to stand on issues with much long-term consequences. Come to think of it, laws legislated or enacted by Congress should not be of any one man or woman’s whim or caprice anymore.

It may be time to erect the new foundation for making laws. Laws should not perpetuate the interests of a particular class or they would be tantamount as pieces of class legislation. The mistakes of the past should not be repeated. Shouldn’t it be now the opportunity to get rid of vicious ‘lapses in judgment’? We might find ourselves in a long haul unless we decide wisely who we should put into office to run our state of affairs in the next three years.

Let us reflect and vote in leaders who can make a difference.

(For feedback, reach Primer Pagunuran through email address – nielsky_2003@yahoo.com)