Ka Oris: May ’16 elections cannot usher in social change

The revolutionary spokesperson in Mindanao, in an emailed statement, weighs in on presidential candidates–and the entire dominant electoral system in the Philippines.

Ka Oris, sa isang lugar sa Caraga. PW File Photo

The national elections this May 2016 will never be a genuine expression of the slogan ‘from the people, by the people and for the people’.

Thus said Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao). In an emailed statement on March 10, he reiterated the revolutionary movement’s long-standing policy of non-participation in what it calls “bourgeois elections” under the ruling political system in the Philippines.

“Almost all candidates vying for major positions, whether as mayor, congressman, senator, vice president or president, either belong to the big landlord and comprador bourgeoisie classes or from dynasties of bureaucrat capitalists; none belong to the peasant or working classes. Thus, to say that bourgeois elections translate to real people empowerment is nothing short of delusional and deceptive,” said Ka Oris.

Ka Oris also maintained that even as Filipino voters are led to believe that social change can happen with a peaceful transition of power “from one faction of the ruling class to another,” “agents of US imperialism” have always intervened in the electoral process to ensure that their interests are best served by the new ruling faction.

“Philippine elections continue to be an arena lorded over by the ruling classes (of) the big landlords and bourgeois compradors — and the rules of the game remain the same: guns, goons, gold and patronage. Of late, the use of the pre-programmed automated elections system (AES) upgraded the old and obvious schemes of cheating to invisible electronic fraud.  Control over established mass media networks as well as the social media also proves to be an advantage,” Ka Oris added.

Meanwhile, the masses’ basic issues, such as lack of genuine land reform and national industrialization, remain unaddressed by the presidential candidates.

He opined that the candidates deliberately avoid discussing these basic people’s issues “in order to avoid accountability for such issues after the elections; thus, they debate and jabber mainly on peripheral or less basic issues.”

Even the party-list system that has given token representation to the poor has failed to serve the marginalized sectors, Ka Oris said. “Of the 52 congressional seats reserved for party-list, only 13 percent genuinely represent the less-privileged,” he said.

Ka Oris said that while some presidential candidates do express favorable stand on certain people’s issues such as social services, environmental protection, climate change, drugs, and the peace talks, the public should be wary of these candidates’ stand on issues such as the continued implementation of neoliberal policies and various efforts to push charter change.

“A (Mar) Roxas victory will shield Benigno Aquino III from incarceration for his crimes against the people, such as DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), the SAF (Special Action Force) 44 incident, the gross neglect of typhoon victims, the Lumad killings and a host of other despicable acts,” he said.

Ka Oris added that a Roxas presidency will certainly continue the brutal counter-insurgency program of the present regime.

He also criticized Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay, who is besieged with charges of corruption. He is also silent on people’s issues such as wages and land reform, Ka Oris said.

The revolutionary leader also castigated Mindanaoan presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, who he said favors death penalty that can be used to further victimize poor and innocent people, and even revolutionaries, under the current political situation.

“He (Duterte) has also announced his categorical stand against labor unions,” Ka Oris added.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago, he said, has had a track record of political turncoatism, while Grace Poe has yet to “prove herself consistent in upholding people’s issues, demands and aspirations.”

“NDFP-Mindanao calls on the people to turn this bourgeois elections to the advantage of the people’s struggle.  We must strive to educate the masses regarding the real character of the bourgeois elections,” Ka Oris concluded.