The mauling incident at the Valley Golf and Country Club in Antipolo City graphically describes the grave distortion of the concept of democracy in the Philippine political reality. It serves as a wake-up call to that part of the middle class who believes in the deceptive comfort of a “disciplined” peace offered by some in the current administration and among some presidentiables.
The tandem of the DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman and his son, Nasser Pangandaman, Jr. should have apologized for the whole incident right there and then. However, the arrogance of power lead them, not only to the initiation of the mauling, but to the cover-up of the incident–and even to the counter-charging of their victims afterwards.
Secretary Pangandaman’s apology today falls far short of a sincere apology. In essence, it was a feeble attempt to stem the tide of a rising middle class rage that targets not only them but his boss.
Malacañang needs the incident–involving a senior Cabinet official–like a magnum shot in the head. In this time of rockbottom popularity and credibility, it can only add to its difficulties to stay in power through charter change.
Nobody can believe the Pangandamans’ claim that a civilian can start a quarrel with high government officials complete with armed bodyguards, particularly in this Philippine reality show of armed warlords lording it over in their bailiwicks. Malacañang should do better than directing the DOJ to investigate (and probably whitewash) the incident. In an ordinary democracy, the incident is enough to ask the resignation of your Cabinet official.
The concept of a “public servant” in a representative democracy is also a victim here. Exemplified on a daily basis by the illegal escorted motorcades of arrogant cabinet officials, senators, congressmen, constitutional commissioners, governors, mayors, and even the barangay captains, what we have is a picture of power-holders who have been stricken with the power virus.
The elected ones are especially odious. Flaunting the power, they would corrupt the whole system using the people’s money, and caring nothing for the voting citizens except as subject for vote-buying during elections and extortion-taxation cum corruption in-between elections.
Power is the god the traditional politicians worship. Their god produces the comforts in life, the narcissicism of self-gratification, the monetary rewards, and the accumulation of more power.
This worship of power defines the current political crisis of the GMA administration. It just will not let go of it without a fight–even against constitutional restraints and public opposition. It is also the the source of the possible slide into the abyss of martial rule and dictatorship. We all remember the Marcos siren song of “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.”
In the current fragile Philippine democracy, traditional politics is the source of its weaknesses. In a genuine democracy, it is the anachronism. Democracy and the Pangandamans of our time simply cannot exist side-by-side.
“Public servant” power has to give way to the real people power.