On whose morals, Chief Justice?

January 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s call for a moral revolution smacks of a veiled attempt by traditional forces to present an anti-thetical platform against rising public perception of systems failure. It is an attempt to re-shift the focus, from systems change to personality change. Conservative forces who are benefitting from this dysfunctional system are the primary oppositors of real systemic change through revolt, and these forces are moving to perpetuate the democratic way of change through the ballot.

There is a conscious campaign by conservative forces to disabuse the minds of the public, shifting the discourse from systems failure to personality failure, so as to stem the tide of rising dissent. This moralist call also shows how conservative forces are trying to control the developing counter-culture that threatens their very lives and power under the present dispensation. This counter-counter reflects the underbelly of dissent against the prevailing system, since people are now arriving at the conclusive presumption that the ballot is an ineffectual means for change.

The pragmatist in Puno knows that his victory as president is a long shot. Nobody has ever won in a campaign centered on a moral platform. First, people are unconvinced that it’s the morals really of those in power which should be blamed for this prevailing fiasco. I know this deviates from my previous presumption and calls also for a “moral revolt”, but my treatise is more on the intellectual revolt rather than a moral revolt.

Second, on whose moral code would we base Puno’s moral platform? Obviously, his platform would be based on Pacheco’s religious biases, which has no proven effectiveness in governance. What if this moral platform conflicts with, say, the Islamic code? How would Puno justify the use of this moral and ethical base platform in actually managing government? Surely, given the fact that morals are culturally rooted, running such a campaign attracts attribution, confusion and utter destruction of values and norms beneath or antithetical to the platform? This will surely attract opposition and worst, serious dissent which could deepen the fissures of disunity among the Filipino people.

Lastly, running under the moral platform shows a possible weaker governance style than the present one. Politics is not for the faint hearted nor the benevolent heart. Bureaucracy is full of bullshit and opportunists. What would Puno do if someone stole billions of pesos, like what Bolante reportedly did? Will he impose the death penalty? Obviously not, since, under a moralist government, it is more humane to allow one person to live and capital punishment is not considered.

Puno should not allow himself to be used by these pseudo change agents and by these conservative forces whose interests are now being threatened by the entry of New Money. The shift of wealth, from land resources to non-land and rent, are threatening the very existence of the old elites. Propping up Puno is a serious last ditch effort at finding solutions to the slowly rising influence of New Money.

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