Numbers game, democracy and Maharlika

By Reni M. Valenzuela

Our representatives in the Lower House of Congress have gambled big time with their approval of the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, notwithstanding popular outcries (from almost all sectors of our society) contrary to their “dreams,” whims and wishes. Alas, who loses?

Democracy can only be as good or bad, fruitful or baneful as the kind of political leaders a nation has. Pity the Filipino people because with the way things have been going, we don’t have democracy in the country, but… (unutterable), probably the worst “democratic” system of government in the world. No wonder, we never progress. Oh, the plague of “democracy”!

“A form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections” (Merriam-Webster). This is democracy. But let me add: Democracy (in principle) assumes that political leaders are upright and genuine public servants on which its idealism and sublimity as a form of government is anchored.

Dear honorable congressmen and senators: The people’s voice is best or truly heard (unfiltered and unsullied) in issues affecting their lives, much better (by far) and much more than during elections. Elections can be cheated and/or manipulated in various ways, but not massive outcries – away from election campaigns. Democracy means heeding the voice of the people with which elections and “popularity surveys” have got nothing to do, much less the machinations of trolls, sycophants and pests.

Thus, where is democracy in the issue of Maharlika Wealth/Investment Fund?

We have elected our representatives in Congress, but who do they represent?  For all intents and purposes, ours is the subtle opposite of democracy. What we have are dogged officials who represent (blatant and brazen) just political interests and their own individual/collective agenda as “super majorities,” with the people dumped, waiting and ready in the pit to be scooped out again for votes and be used in the succeeding elections.

Ours is a “democracy” wherein the powers that be are held supreme or as gods.

Count people, not Congress votes. A day prior to the approval of House Bill 6608, Speaker Martin Romualdez was quoted in Brussels, Belgium, as saying, “… we had over 220 (co-authors) and I think by the time I get back baka umabot na ng 250.  So there will be over two-thirds of the House who will be co-authoring…”  True enough, and more, as 279 congressmen railroaded the passage of the controversial, despicable bill.

Food on our table and aching stomachs are no numbers game or baccarat/roulette being played by our legislators in their respective chambers. The mammoth outcry of reason or truth is loud and lucid: Please drop your dirty chips and stop playing games with our lives and future. Or perhaps you are waiting for a massive, concerted, peaceful, spontaneous, sovereign, powerful action to happen, spearheaded and participated by the people no less – to make democracy work for all of us.

God forbid.