Switching loyalties with such ease

Published February 21, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Leandro DD Coronel
Leandro DD Coronel

By Leandro DD Coronel

 

The party-switching still goes on, with politicians abandoning their home parties to join the so-called “super” majority. This proves the absence of ideological or principled moorings in Philippine politics.

I wonder how politicians can switch alliances or allegiances from one end of the political/ideological spectrum to the other end with such ease. Those who switch show not the slightest sign of regrets or remorse.

Fish would have a problem switching habitats from water to land or air. Most mammals would be in peril if they moved from land to water. Dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth because they couldn’t adapt to environmental changes.

But Filipino politicians have no such problems. They’re so adaptable, they flit from one party or coalition to another without skipping a beat. The dinosaurs would be envious.

This proves that ideology or party principles are not a part of the original motivation to join a political party. To gain political power has always been and is the only incentive to become a member.

Look at the wholesale transfer of partisans to another grouping. Even high-ranking leaders of parties move. What does that say about their principles and character, and their sworn duty to lead? It’s like the captain abandoning his own ship and crew.

It’s questionable but understandable when politicians who espouse no particular ideology or party platforms switch parties. Nothing binds them to their original party anyway, so what’s there to stop them from switching parties?

But the observer scratches his or her head when known ideologues do it. How, for example, does someone known for fighting for human rights suddenly move to the side of a leader who doesn’t care at all about human rights? How does someone who had been strident against human rights violations suddenly become a defender of a leader who disregards the importance of individuals’ rights in a democracy and indeed even threatens rights advocates of harm?

How easy is it really to move from one end of the spectrum to the other end? No qualms of conscience? No withdrawal symptoms? No shame from the jeers of former colleagues or partisans? No self-indictment? No remorse?

Or, is it all because of power and ambition? Does the closeness to the seat of power make up for the feeling of abandoning one’s principles and beliefs? Does the sense of belonging to the inner circle of government compensate for the nagging conscience? Does a Cabinet post, for example, make up for the devil’s barter?

Or, is conscience not even a part of the equation at all?

“What profits a man if he gains the world but loses his soul?” Is constant public exposure glory enough to sacrifice former beliefs? Perhaps that is what motivates many people to switch allegiances from one’s principles to another set of considerations.

It’s a common practice in Philippine politics to switch alliances. That makes it easier for politicians to rationalize their switching of loyalties by saying to themselves: If others can do it, so can I.

But’s it’s still hard to imagine or explain for the common observer.

 

***

Tantrum Ergo. ABS-CBN’s rail transit reporter pronounces “MRT” as EMR-TEE instead of EM-AHR-TEE and “LRT” as ELR-TEE instead of EL-AHR-TEE. Just like when some people pronounce the department store’s name “SM” as ES(I)M instead of ES-EM. Please, people, stop making pa-cute; I still haven’t gotten over the fact that so many Filipinos now say “TWENNY” instead of TWEN-TEE or “GENNEL-MEN” instead of GEN-TEL-MEN. Pa-cute pa more.

 
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