Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Foreign Meddling: The Most Neglected Issue in the Recent Electoral Discussions

The social networking sites are now cluttered with different opposing partisan political propaganda,- black, white and gray, which are intended to boost the bid of their respective presidential bets this coming Philippine elections in May. The netizens, filled with emotions and armed with over-eagerness to defend or promote their candidates, allowed themselves to act like talkative puppets in the hands of a political ventriloquist. The heated online debates are now at their best. The discussions, fair or foul, are polluting the social media. Irritating memes and links that are scraped from propaganda sites of political parties and politicians sadly invade even our deepest apolitical moment in cyberspace.

These kinds of people allowed themselves to be hallucinated by emotions brought about by the campaign delirium. They are drowned by the illusion that the result of the elections, especially in the presidential and vice presidential races, solely lie in the hands of the voters, in the voting power of the people and the efficiency of the electoral laws and systems. As if American meddling in Philippine politics is just in our dream. As if the American transnational corporations, its main intelligence agency and diplomatic channels are just passively watching over us during voting time. As if the US-influenced media and the survey firms do not manipulate the people and the electoral events to ensure US economic and political control in this part of the globe. As if China has no plan to follow suit. Yes, both Washington and Beijing would surely influence our domestic politics in 2016 and beyond. These two countries’ unseen but critical hand in the Philippine presidential race is very much neglected by the on-line, almost cultic pinduteros in our midst.

Foreign meddling in our political life or internal affairs is an objective reality, as attested by our political history. With Beijing’s assertion of its control over the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine court’s approval of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with US, the coming election is destined to be included in the war strategy of the two superpowers. The US, our distant friend and China, a bullying neighbor, are here to influence the results of the elections. Those avid supporters of certain candidates trolling over the social networking sites are aimed at risking their reputation, sanity and all for their candidates. At the macro level, moneyed American and Chinese corporations would surely bankroll certain presidential candidate and employ every tactic in the book, overt or clandestine, to make certain candidate win and therefore to affect the campaign and its result. Secret compromises between the candidates and power brokers of these two influential countries have already been made, no doubt. The presidential candidates we see in the debates and the political TV ads nowadays endeavor to obtain their support. This would dilute the sanctity of our electoral system. In the process, it would diminish the independence of intelligence thus weaken the action of every avid supporter of certain candidates for the two highest positions in the land. Be it off-line or on-line.

In pages 32-33 of her book “Issues without Tears: Volume I” which was published in 1984, historian Letizia R. Constantino wrote that Manuel Roxas’ presidential bid in 1945 was supported by Gen. Douglas MacArthur and US High Commissioner Paul V. MacNutt despite of Roxas’ previous collaboration with the Japanese. President Manuel Roxas is the grandfather of now administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas III. Let us hear from Constantino: “During the campaign, men who had been in MacArthur’s staff – Andres Soriano, Enrique Zobel, Charles Parsons and Joseph McMicking were big contributors to Roxas’ campaign fund.” Roxas, as expected, won the election. He conformed to the ideals of the Americans and since then, Uncle Sam was able to advance his economic interests in the Philippines through the Bell Trade Act and exploited of our natural resources. Under the said Act, American citizens and corporations were given equal or same trade rights as Filipinos.

The elder Roxas too, ensured the presence of the US Military Bases in the Philippines just like how his grandson supports the EDCA now. Constantino further wrote, “Roxas gave the Americans the privileges they wanted and suppressed the only groups that opposed American demands.”  The Aquino Administration or his Tuwid na Daan is very welcoming to US. The Roxas presidency would bring back the heydays of the American military presence in the country.

Thus, geopolitics is the most neglected aspect in every debate and exchanges among supporters of each presidentiable over every social networking site today. They are mostly confined to the sensationalized trivialities evolving around 2016 elections. Matters that entertain us away from the long lingering monster left unseen behind a tree.

Philippine elections are fragments of America’s colonial legacy. Jejomar Binay already declared his openness to talk with Beijing on the disputed territory or the heightening of economic ties with China the moment he is elected to office. He said to local media some months back, “We have to accept the fact that China has all the capital and we have the property over there, so why don’t we try to develop that property as a joint venture?” Last February, Rody Duterte hummed the same tune saying that he is open to joint exploration with China on the West Philippine Sea. The Economist reported that, “Chinese diplomats have given almost open support to his [Aquino’s] vice-president, Jejomar Binay, who was elected separately and will be the main opposition candidate in the May presidential election.” On the other hand, Grace Poe, formerly held both Filipino and American citizenship is married to an American citizen. Therefore, we do not expect an outright anti-American foreign policy under her watch.

As long as there is election, we open our doors to foreign meddling and our fundamental right as citizens to be sovereign in our country would forever be a dream. The right to self- determination is the ever elusive dream of every patriotic Filipino, then and now. 

The question of foreign intervention in our elections is so essential that the die-hard supporters and/or bashers of Mar Roxas, Digong Duterte, Grace Poe and Jojo Binay intellectually downplayed in this critical junction of our nation’s history…

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