Tuesday, May 29, 2007

2 Weeks and Counting

50 years ago, it already took this long to count the votes. But just like we don’t care if people still died from tuberculosis in droves and 12 infants continue to die from diarrhea daily we have become so desensitized with this rotten political process we don’t really care that much anymore. The results will still be the same anyway, with a few exceptions. Yes we raise hell over scattered anomalous eruptions and we cry havoc over minor legalities but when do we wake up to the clear reality that these very same politicians are the principal beneficiaries to this corrupt system? They revel in this set-up, they flourish in these surroundings while we suckers make pathetic attempts to participate.

Our elections consist of 2 stages: vote procurement and vote protection. Traditional Candidates (TC) easily spend 200 million pesos for the first stage and double that amount for the second. Traditional Parties (TP) backing TC’s pour seemingly limitless resources on both stages. But do you hear anyone complain louder than Oliver Lozano? Why haven’t we automated this process? Why despite the intrigue and cheating the job of a COMELEC Commissioner remains the most secure sinecure in our country? As Pia Hontiveros says, nothing personal, it’s strictly politics. All these charges and counter-charges of fraud and mass murder are accouterments to an elaborate triennial play that is hyped to epic proportions but has consistently lacked a denouement. The ending never changes: we get screwed while the finest tradition of business as usual continues.

This is why I think it’s healthy for me to retreat to my fortress of solitude in Oklahoma periodically. You need to see a country that works in order to remain appalled at the spectacular loss of order, competence and honesty prevailing in our midst. If only we didn’t have such a lethal combination it would have been so easy to stay put.


Peter said...

you going back to the US?

Peter said...

i mean, for good?

tried to campaign for you in my home town (Capas, Tarlac). i'm pretty sure I got you at least 10 votes, 9 of them had this reaction when i told them to vote for you "Martin Who?". Now these are friends and family, sad reality, pinoys in general don't really think of the results of an election as something that would have profound impact on their lives, otherwise they would have made extra effort in finding out the best candidates. cant blame you if you want to leave.

Jane said...

I don't blame you. Everyday that you spend in the Philippines you will be confronted by the reasons why you left it in the first place.The wealth,experience and
education that you have accumulated in the states will not shield you from the sad realities that millions of pinoys have to go through everyday such as graft and corruption,disorganized traffic schemes, dilapidated/lacking infrastructures, pollution, street people/kids, poverty,lack of effective nationalized health care etc. So if one has not come to terms yet with his/her pinoy past it is not advisable to go back to the Philippines for good. Otherwise, you will leave it again this time most likely a frustrated and bitter individual. I am writing about my own personal experience.

Omi said...

sir martin, sir henry totanes speaks so highly of you. he even compares you to jose rizal. what will be your plans after this elections?

Lalon said...

i just wanna say that America is one main reason why we are suffering like this.. they made us sign up with unfair trade and credit agreements that further stunted the growth of our economy..

r. g. lacsamana, m.d. said...

I get the feeling the good doc is thinking of going back to Oklahoma, with his family, maybe for good. That would be a big loss of his talents for the country that he loves, but what alternative does he have? Unless he wants to test the waters again, which looms more and more as a distant possibility.

The post-election blues he has been posting are quite familiar to most of us, even those (like me) who have been away for more than 40 years. As the old cliche says, the more things change, the more they stay the same, but even worse in our case.

One year after the fall of Marcos, in 1987, I still recall that searing article James Fallows, of the Atlantic magazine, wrote about the Philippines suffering from a "sick culture." It pained me a lot when I read that, but Fallows was probably right. That was two years before Dr. Baustista and his wife left for the U.S., and I'm sure he had read the same article.

His thoughts on this column testify to an electoral process that have remained primitive, something unheard of in neighboring Asian countries. In India, a country of more than a billion inhabitants, the results of elections there are known within one or days, leaving no opportunity for cheating which has become endemic in the Philippines.

As for those we elect, and keep re-electing, Legal Affairs, the foremost legal journal in the U.S., was right in observing in 2005 that the Philippine Congress is a mockery, made up of dunces, comedians, action stars, and siblings from dynasties. It's no wonder that out of more than 3,000 bills filed the previous year, only 34 got approved. It's the bitter infighting, year in and year out.

Everybody, including President Arroyo, has been talking about changing to a parliamentary form of government. That is not going to change things as long as we have the same faces, and until we can change the hearts and minds of millions of Filipinos. That is a Herculean task, and I'm sure the good doc will agree.

Godspeed, and I'm sure those old patients will be glad to have both of you back.

Anonymous said...

"Kaya’t huwag niyong aakalain na dahil ako ay napapagod at nanghihina paminsan-minsan ay handa na akong sumuko. Ngayong na-umpisahan ko na ito ay nananawagan ako sa lahat kayong mga Pilipinong nagmamahal sa ating Bayan na huwag mawalan ng pag-asa. Katungkulan nating lahat na pabutihin ang kalagayan ng ating Bayan. Wala nang atrasan ito." - Dr. Bautista, Wednesday, May 9, 2007.

"Don’t worry, I am going down fighting with everything I got, just as they would say in Oklahoma. And it ain’t over by any stretch. Watch me." - Dr. Bautista, Saturday, May 12, 2007.

"I am here to stay." - Dr. Bautista, Wednesday, May 16, 2007.

"This is why I think it’s healthy for me to retreat to my fortress of solitude in Oklahoma periodically." - Dr. Bautista, Tuesday, May 29, 2007.

I sure hope that "periodically" does not mean three years, only for you to run again in 2010 when the conditions are more ripe for victory. But if it is, I hope you get ZERO votes next time.

Anonymous said...

You sir, are no Superman.

cowboy12 said...

Dr. Baustista is a great man that has shown great admiration and guts in his conquest of the senate. If there were more people like him in this world we wouldn't see the carnage and hatred seen on a constant basis. He is not only a mentor but also a great friend.