MILF’s hands-off policy on election

1st Issue 1-7
Typography

 The hands-off policy of the MILF on Philippine elections will continue to be observed even during the current presidential election in this country.  The rationale anchors on the premise that the system of election here is so divisive, elitist, and expensive that in the end many if not most of those who get elected are usually not the best, honest, and capable personalities to lead the people. They simply are the moneyed, feared, and powerful.

Worse, the end result is that both the winners and losers are all losers, because both spent money and spread chicanery or intrigue among the people; and worst, the winners (we don’t know if there are many exceptions) will get back the huge sum of money they spent, either directly from the coffer of government or somewhere else through fraudulent means.

It is for this reason that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) offered some electoral reforms that would minimize the fraudulent practices ingrained in Philippine electoral system. Unless the electoral playing field is levelled to a fairer situation, the so-called democracy would persist to be at the tyranny (mercy?) of the powerful. Hence, the BBL proposes some safety measures, among which, are: Election in a parliamentary system of government is simpler than electing the head of state and government through direct votes of the people; dividing the representations in parliament into single district representation, system of proportional representation, and reserved seats for marginalized sectors; and crafting of an electoral code suited to a parliamentary system that would bring democracy closer to the people. In addition, we intend to infuse moral values even in elections that cheating, over-spending, and use threats or force are not only contrary to good governance and society but are sins which we have to pay in the day Hereafter.

This is not to say, however, that the government especially under the current administration is not doing its level best to plug the loopholes in the electoral system in this country. In fact, this country has one of the best laws on elections in the world, but not much headway is possible, because the system is so firmly established and accepted by those who are enjoying and gaining from it. This matter worsens due to the people’s acquiescence or inability or helplessness to alter or change the status quo.

This means the MILF will not endorse any presidential candidate or any candidate for that matter. The most that the MILF can do is to put into concrete terms and explains the platform of the candidates for our members to be guided correctly when they cast their votes.  In the same vein, candidates are also free to meet and conduct dialogues with the leadership of the MILF to discuss their platforms of government related to the armed conflict in Mindanao, particularly the proposed BBL law that would legally operationalize and implement the provisions of the CAB for the establishment of genuinely autonomous Bangsamoro political entity.

It is this context that presidential candidates from Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Jejomar Binay, to former Secretary Mar Roxas sought dialogues with the MILF central leadership led by Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim. Duterte came first, then Senator and vice presidential candidate Gregorio Honassan, representing Binay, next, and then Secretary Roxas last. (Binay has promised to visit Darapanan in the near future, but no date has been given yet). Nothing official is heard yet of Senator Grace Poe whether she will also find wisdom in meeting the leadership of the MILF.

All of them told the MILF that they will push for the passage of the BBL in Congress once they elected into office.