By ERIK ESPINA
How our political values have evolved since the Quezonian era may be charted in the age-old philosophical debate between what is “universal good” versus the movements of “relative good,” in modern times. I distinctly recollect the words of a former president who belonged to a fading era of tradition and decency, when statesmen roamed the nation’s political life in a two-party system. In that instance, pillars of the “party in power” had visited the grand-old man of the ‘Liberals’, bridging a favor to allow his child to seek office by subscribing to a new affiliation. Un-impressed by the invitation and the rationale for becoming a turn-coat, the politics of convenient reality revealed itself in the infamous repartee of “There is no substitute for victory,” in a last-ditch effort to turn the argument. To which the former chief-executive, in a show of annoyance, rubbed his nose with his palm, stopped to put his right hand down, then said: “Of course not! You have your honor.”
We are unfortunately in the age of political survival. The philosophical underpinnings of “relativism” in its full bloom, is about I, me, and myself, and how to stay relevant in the changing algorithm of mercenary politics. Winning at all cost is the cardinal rule. Moving heaven and hell to be in power, and to stay in power, is the maxim of profligacy. During the bygone years of our forefathers, elections were affordable, since graft and corruption was commensurately tolerable. The going rate was 10%. There is a theory that aspiring for (present-day) public office has become too expensive, since the evil of graft and corruption has risen to nauseating levels, as well. The validation of such view was heard by millions of voters noting the tough resolution of a mayor from Davao City. His echo, is what propelled his winning the presidency, exposing the peril of drugs and corruption.
I am afraid, Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be the exception to inexpensive campaigning in current times, because people rallied to him. His message touched our tired and weary souls, frustrated over dirty money politics. Public office, deteriorating to a chattel, for the richest and highest bidder. Republicanism becomes illusory and our democracy failing.