Theoretically, political parties are supposed to be in the forefront in ensuring the election of candidates to the various public offices sought. While those vying for local electoral positions could win their posts through their own local organizations, it is widely believed that those vying for a national office would usually find it almost impossible to set up an organization on their own that would enable them to compete and win. These individuals would usually have to align themselves with an organization that has a wider reach – that is, a political party. Correspondingly the political party, to really become an effective vehicle to get individuals elected to a national office, must have a network capable of reaching out to the greater majority of the country’s electorate.
It is therefore a wonder that during the last elections, two so-called independent candidates won senatorial seats. To many, the phenomenon shows the increasing influence media plays in the electoral process inasmuch as the use of media has greatly influenced the electorate to vote for these candidates. While I will not deny the role of media in the electoral process, what I noticed is that the phenomenon points to the declining influence that Philippine political parties have played in influencing the electorate. It seems that political parties have been greatly marginalized in the performance of their role in the political system of the Philippines. Perhaps the fact that many of our political practitioners have been shifting from one party to another has greatly influenced this deterioration. Belonging to a political party just doesn’t have much value anymore.
However, I still believe that the way we can best improve governance is through the ‘institutionalization’ of the political parties. Among others as such, political parties would be the vehicle to filter out those who cannot adequately run public offices. Without political parties functioning as such, candidates could be elected into office mainly because of their popularity. This to me is the reason why some popular personalities, who do not have any credentials nor experience, run for public office and are elected into said offices. How can we expect our country to move forward when those leading it do not know how to lead?
I still believe that we, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, have a role to play in Philippine politics. While it is true that we, as a Party, have been envied by many because of the ‘fraternal bond’ exhibited among the members, this cannot be the only reason for our existence. We have to articulate and foster the common thread that binds us together- the ideology that is really at the ‘heart’ of why we bond together. We have to set up concrete objectives in our pursuit for political power; not for POWER per se, but to uplift the lives of those who are our constituents. In short, we have to create the ‘institutionalized’ party.
The Chairman Emeritus had aptly articulated how we can justify our existence when he said that “a political party that does not touch and improve the lives of the people has no reason to exist.“ Therefore, we must strive to achieve the common good through our collective effort as a Party. I believe that, in the light of the recent developments in the electoral process, we have no choice but to act towards this end with dispatch… or else…