Patronage politics returns

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Citing stupid and shallow rationale to conjure from a benign suggestion to rename the republic incendiary fears and panic of an imminent dictatorship crafted from a convoluted conspiracy theory to employ the hiatus to a federal form of government, the opposition is rumormongering trepidation that Rodrigo Duterte is gradually establishing an autocracy.

It’s hogwash. But it’s expected. Hoping to unite behind the hate they conjure, credibility continues to evade the Liberal Party (LP).

If there is anything aggressively gravitating towards the darkest days of our past and an autocracy that listens only to itself, then these do not emanate from the Duterte administration.

Rodrigo Duterte ascended to the Presidency via an undeniable exercise of democratic freedom and he remains there legitimately sans military or police fascism or a lapdog media. That his initial 2016 mandate has been replaced by overwhelming approval ratings is undeniable proof of his sustained democratic support is founded on the people.

Duterte does not need to be authoritarian. He has the support of the public. He also does not need the illegal pork barrel system that both Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III needed to keep their personal kennels contented lest they bite the hand that feeds them.

We must remember that the Marcos dictatorship was propped up by a well-fed and fattened military. Anent to that, both Aquino administrations — Corazon’s and Benigno III’s — were more an oligarchy than patently demographic and thus buttressed by businessmen’s billions.

Both Aquino incumbencies were supported by monied special interests and the business elite.
Under Benigno III, this was expanded to cover select presidential whisperers and influence peddlers from Aquino’s classmates, friends and shooting buddies, plus token socialists with capitalist proclivities.

When these converge as an oligarchy then what arms protected Marcos were simply replaced by businessmen’s billions propping both Aquinos.

History, as always, sets the context for the present. Today, the LP is attempting to seize and regain its lost powers and influence.

While the Duterte administration had succeeded in returning power from the elite to the electorate — undeniable proof that democratic populism founds the Duterte administration — the return of elitism via patronage and transactional politics looms in the horizon.

Allow us to analyze latent developments that not only testify to the utterly low caliber brainpower behind the opposition’s alarm regarding a Duterte dictatorship, but what seems to be an underlying opposition agenda to guise a resurrection of the same patronage and transactional politics that ran rampant prior to the Duterte administration.

Through clandestine budget insertions at the House note the insidious return of the pork barrel system morphed from its basic Priority Development Assistance Fund form to the Disbursement Acceleration Program realignment ploy crafted under the Aquino administration.

Note also the opposition’s ploy to legitimize putschists as senators. This effectively institutionalizes a subliminal reward system that elevates to higher office crooks, criminals and coup plotters and employs them as worker termites that eat through our democratic timber.

Note finally that with the candidacy of Manuel Roxas there is the effective return of elitism and oligarch-dominated politics that favor a few and are prone to corruption-laden wheeling-dealing reminiscent of MRT-3, Mahindra and the toxic commercial conspiracies behind the distribution of Dengvaxia, the Hacienda Luisita deal that distorted agrarian reform, Aquino’s Smartmatic deal that trashed our suffrage rights and the Busan maintenance contract that inflicted continuing costs and real physical dangers on the commuting public.

Pandering to patronage politics and fashioning for himself both the dress and demeanor of an economist, from the negative consequences inflicted by the Aquino administration, it becomes clear why, despite economic growth, only insidious special business interests benefit from transactional politics.

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