By Atty. Howie Calleja
It is exactly one year after when the 2022 Philippine presidential and vice-presidential elections were held, as part of the 2022 Synchronized National and Local elections. This was the 17th direct presidential election and 16th vice presidential election in the Philippines since 1935, and the sixth six-year term presidential and vice-presidential election since 1992.
It was the first election since 2004 where the winning president and vice president came from the same presidential ticket. This election saw the highest turnout since 1998, with about 56 million voters casting their votes. Marcos Jr. received 31.6 million votes, the most votes ever cast for a candidate in a presidential election in the Philippines, while Duterte received 32.2 million votes (the youngest to be elected for that post), the most votes ever cast for a candidate in the country. This likewise marked the return of the Marcos Family to power since the 1986 People’s Power Revolution.
So besides awaiting the appointment of losing candidates as per the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article IX-B, Section 6, which states that “no candidate who has lost in any election shall, within one year after such election, be appointed to any office in the Government or any government-owned or controlled corporations or in any of their subsidiaries.” What has one year thereafter brought us?
Pres. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s tandem name, UniTeam, is a play on their platform of unity — and it was the only thing Marcos talked about. “Unity has become my advocacy because of my sincere belief that unity is the first step for us to recover from the crisis that we are in. Being good to others is in the heart and nature of Filipinos. We do not like picking fights, we are not looking for a ruckus. We only seek a decent life for ourselves, for our family, for our country” are the words we would constantly hear during the course of PBBM’s presidential run. But, One Year after the elections, have we achieved this unity?
As Abraham Lincoln succinctly puts it, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
There are millions of Filipino within our nation, each with uniqueness and opposing view on fundamental aspects of our day-to-day lives. Normally, dissimilarities create division and occasional conflict. However, we tend to forget that we all have one common goal — the advancement of our Motherland and its people. Opposing views are tolerable, it is quite easy to agree with others but it takes real strength and courage to respectfully disagree. We truly gain more from unity among opposing views as there as twice as many opinions.
So, one might ask, how is this concretized in public governance? A simple measurement would be composition, performance and diversification of his existing cabinet members. Moreover, the resignation of PBBM’s key Cabinet officials shows disturbing signs of disunity, it proves that the existence of in-fighting between forces or factions wanting to have better access to or control of important positions in our government — a sign of a fractured unity.
Without unity, there is no growth, integrity, freedom and definitely no nationalism.
No team has ever won a game without team spirit with a united front. But if government appointments are plagued with political trade-offs and favors vis-à-vis expertise and efficiency we are surely headed for disaster. And, if the such discord is reflected by the plight of our officials’ resignations this definitely is not a good omen. A truly united government is one where all sides and advocacies are on the table inclusive of all shades and colors; a government properly represented were all voices are heard and not just those to which a “quid pro quo” exists.