Bam Aquino entertains joining PRRD's PDP-Laban?!

Bam Aquino entertains joining PRRD's PDP-Laban?!

Senator Bam Aquino wants to make sure he will be elected this coming 2019 mid terms elections.

Apparently he is aware that his constant criticisms/ attacks against the Duterte administration will not make him a senator for another terms that is why he entertains more of trying to bait the President party in including him as one of its senatorial bets for the next election.

The Manila Times resident columnist Antonio P. Contreras in his column today (March 20, 2018) titled “Bam Aquino, PDP-Laban and why a parliamentary system will not work” has written an eloquent article explaining the parliamentary system its current state in the Philippines.  *
(photo credit to owner)

For purposes of full understanding and truthfulness  ,we have quoted  in full the whole article written by Mr. Contreras  for the convenience and knowledge of our reading public.

Bam Aquino, PDP-Laban and why a parliamentary system will not work

WHEN an opposition Senator like Bam Aquino who has been critical of the President since day one entertains the thought of joining the senatorial ticket of PDP-Laban, the party of the President, and Senate President Koko Pimentel doesn’t shoot down the idea, and in fact is open to it, then we know that a parliamentary system, no matter how ideal in theory, will not work in this country, at least for now.

If there is one thing on which a parliamentary system stands on, it is the existence of mature, stable and ideologically defined political parties. It is in fact referred to in political science as a system of party rule, where the dominant political party in parliament is tasked to form the government and elect from among its members the prime minister who shall then appoint a cabinet also composed of elected members of parliament. Should one party fail to get a clear majority, a coalition government is formed by a combination of parties that will form the majority in parliament.   *

Political parties are the life-blood of a parliamentary system. A government sinks or swims on the basis of the support of a majority party, or of a majority coalition in parliament. Parties are in turn organized along ideological lines which offer voters stable and clearly articulated alternative platforms for governance to choose from during elections. They became the aggregators of political interests, and craft this into a menu of policies reflecting their ideological orientations from the left to the right which they offer to the electorate who then shall vote on the basis of such policy platforms. Elections become kin to a marketplace, where voters acting as consumers “buy” a party that they think reflects their own policy preferences. Hence, in this system, whoever wins a majority in parliament has the mandate of the majority of the people to pursue the policy trajectories which that party offered during the elections.

Party discipline is strictly enforced, considering that a breakdown in party unity can spell the fall of a government, which happens when the prime minister is unable to pass a government legislation and loses a confidence vote. This can trigger the dissolution of parliament, which will then lead to early elections. The prospect for this is higher when the government is an outcome of a coalition, where one party can bolt from the majority to trigger a collapse of the coalition. However, whether the collapse of government is brought upon by rebelling backbenchers from the ruling party, or by a dissatisfied coalition partner, this is usually on a matter of public policy differences. Dissolving parliament and calling for fresh elections, while constitutive of a crisis moment, is nevertheless also a recuperative mechanism as it allows for the electorate to once again decide on which party to send back to parliament, with the policy issue that led to its dissolution being the main campaign issue upon which they base their decisions. *

It is therefore vital in the success of a parliamentary system, and anent to the existence of political parties that are ideologically defined, that there should be an electorate which is also mature and which decides on the basis of issues. This is an electorate that evaluates politicians on the basis of what they stand for on crucial issues, scrutinizes their voting records in parliament, and rewards or punishes them according to those policy choices.

Aside from mature political parties and voters, the parliamentary system also requires the presence of a healthy opposition that engages the government on issues. The opposition in parliament becomes a shadow of the government, with its own shadow cabinet. The head of the opposition in turn is considered as the shadow prime minister. One of the most enduring institutions of any parliamentary system is the question hour, when the prime minister and his or her cabinet responds to inquiries from the opposition on matters of public policy.

Unfortunately, an ideologically defined party system with politicians imbued with party discipline is something that we do not have in this country. Political parties in the Philippines are established not along ideological lines, but along systems of affinities and a politics of patronage and convenience. Nacionalistas are not necessarily nationalists, and Liberals are not necessarily liberals. Thus, we end up with parties whose names are mere acronyms denoting populist slogans but devoid of ideological coherence and integrity.  *

And this is aggravated by politicians who think of parties as convenient labels to wear and carry during elections, which they can easily drop and abandon. We are witness to the predictable migratory behavior of elected politicians toward the direction of the party of whoever is elected president. This literally dis-enables the existence of a healthy and robust opposition. Supermajorities in Congress leave the opposition to either become a motley of token resistance, or a cabal of fanatically adversarial minority of legislators who no longer responsibly offer a critique and instead become destructive and disruptive forces.

We see the anomaly of people belonging to the same political party but on opposite sides of the aisle. We have LPs in the supermajority, and then we have the likes of Lagman, Banguilat, Drilon and Pangilinan in the ranks of the opposition.

Then we have the anomaly of Bam Aquino entertaining the thought of joining PDP-Laban, and Koko Pimentel open to the idea.

The thing is, these political anomalies are allowed by voters who simply do not care, and who vote politicians into office not on the basis of their legislative records, but on the strength of their surnames and affinities.

A system with weak political parties, undisciplined politicians and an electorate that votes not on the basis of issues but on the basis of personalities can lead to a parliament that can have the same supermajorities for long periods of time without any accountability. Such majority will cobble majorities not on the basis of policy convergences but on the basis of patronage. *

There are people who argue that a parliamentary system will usher in the forces that can lead to the maturation of our party system, our politicians and our electorate. This is a tall order.
Report from Manila Times

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