FEBRUARY is a pro-life month. It is also a month that observes the World Day of the Sick (February 11) and the National Migrants Sunday (February 25). Expectedly, these celebrations will not make a splash in the streets or in the pages. What is shouting loud is the ruckus of big political parties fielding senatorial candidates with small or no sincere nationalist agenda at all. Publicly known as gamblers, corrupt government officials, or simply good-for-nothing you would now see the candidates hoisting to the hilt their certificates of good moral character in hugely expensive political ads and rallies. This spectacle will pervade the horizons intensely as ever until the May elections and, of course, thereafter.
This is a season of greed, once again couched in well-painted faces, best packaged promises, and theatrics. “What kind of political system have we created where base power and greed, not lofty principles of self-sacrificing service, are all too often the operative norms of conduct of public office?” asks the Pastoral Exhortation on Politics of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued in September of 1997.
Today political candidates are polarized not because of principles or philosophy—as in old times past—but according to the bankrolling of financial resources. And there are only two gigantic sources presently that seem bottomless. The sad thing is, both sources built their financial arsenal from gamblers, corruption and dirty politics. Really, the choice is between the devil and the deep blue sea. The only other option is to curse the gods and die, or so grunted the wife of Job.
“Philippine politics—the way it is practiced—has been most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human development,” to quote further the above Exhortation.