Sophie's choice: The CDP electoral candidates

Sophie's choice: The CDP electoral candidates Featured

"SOPHIE's Choice" was a compelling movie where baby-boomer moviegoers, my age group, were persuaded to confront, think and suffer moral dilemma vicariously throughout the entire film unlike contemporary flicks where computer-generated images (CGI) with motion-capture (MoCap) driven technology enhance the actor's emotions and nuances in movements — all in technicolor. These types of cinema tease the visual and aural senses, are addictive and regular brain food for the Generation X, the millennials, and the Generation Z — movie buffs that came after us. But the 1982 film where Meryl Streep won an Oscar, her first of an unprecedented total of 21 nominations to date — the most of any American actor ever — placed the actress and the movie in a classic genre of its own. Hollywood doesn't make such films anymore.

The story is set during the Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany when Jews were rounded up across Europe and transported in cattle cars to be gassed in concentration camps. In this particular case to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The plot revolves around a single mother (Sophie/Streep) of two young children, a boy and a girl who upon arriving in the camp, was made to choose between the two — who will live or die. If she didn't make a choice, she would lose them both. This was a terrible ethical conundrum. Sophie's choice to sacrifice the daughter to save her son will haunt her for life, committing suicide at the end.

Stretching the example to juxtapose with current political drama, the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) made a similar Sophie's choice. Admittedly in a less dramatic fashion, the ideologically driven political party was confronted with a dilemma — a choice between upholding its long-held advocacies versus its utilitarian imperatives.

Faithful to its process-oriented culture, the party went through local debates and discussions before presenting their recommendations to the larger body in a zoom convention. CDP favored Leni Robredo, the leading oppositionist presidential candidate over Ferdinand Marcos Jr., though they opted for Sara as VP. Methinks this was done on two counts. The CDP's antecedents were attuned more to the "original yellow" predispositions of the post-Marcos regime. And the second is the voters' propensity to split a presidential ticket — BBM from Luzon and Sara from Mindanao.

Party conundrum

The CDP stands on its advocacy for systemic restructuring as preconditions for the solution of what ails the country — from stark poverty to social injustice, to impunity, to the naked use of political power negating the rule of law. Embedded in the 1987 byzantine Cory Constitution, the CDP demands revisions. In contrast, the two leading presidentiables, BBM and Leni, are utterly clueless, putting Charter revisions in the back burner.

If CDP were true to its ideological predilections, they could have opted for non-tradpols Ernie Abella or Bert Gonzales — who have been singing the constitutional revision song. But the CDP, departing somewhat from its purist ideological moorings, also recognizes the realities of politics. These two whose views are congruent with CDP's possess poll numbers way off the presidential probabilities. They can't win. The CDO chapter, the strongest political unit of CDP, led by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the party president, opted for the pragmatic — to survive and eventually to flourish — by buying the influence of BBM or Leni. If Leni wins with CDP support, well and good; if BBM wins, we can negotiate. Elect one and lose the other — or lose both — if the CDP sticks to its moral underpinnings. The second and more substantial segment of Sophie's choice is to sacrifice the CDP advocacies to gain influence with either BBM or Leni, or support the sure losers, effectively relegating CDP to the twilight zone of political realities and be irrelevant in the coming regime.

Senatorial choices and CDP pragmatism

But CPD's choices on the more important senatorial slate appear to be dubious even by its own standards. Among the 12 candidates recommended by the CDO-CDP, only three have a similar stance with the CDP. The rest of CDP's choices are antithetical to charter revisions. If Gibo Teodoro, Migs Zubiri and Risa Hontiveros make it, they will join the four pro-Charter change bloc of senators — Koko Pimentel of the original PDP-Laban and Bong Go, Bato and Tolentino of the Duterte faction. Still, they don't have the numbers — unless deals have been concluded by CDO-CDP to revise the party's constitution in exchange for CDP support.

CDP, a decade-old political party, a fledgling one compared to the 1907-founded Nacionalistas (NP) and its 1946 splinter, Liberal Wing (LP), couldn't complete their own ticket and slate. In fact, the two leading presidential candidates are owned by a hodgepodge of political parties; Marcos by a hastily formed Federal Party of the Philippines as its core, shedding his father's KBL; in alliance with Sara's Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), Lakas-CMD and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. Leni Robredo on the other hand discarded her disgraced Yellow Liberal Party affiliation, ran independent (while still the Liberal Party chair) and assumed the color pink — "kakampinks" symbolizing a new "yellow." These convoluted convenient alliances are nothing more than political parties in names assembled solely to advance personal interest with no shred of ideological leanings identifying them in the political spectrum.

Even the PDP-Laban, the ruling party that adopted President Duterte, has disintegrated with one faction now supporting the son of the dictator against whom this party was partly founded in the first place — during the dark days of martial law. It can't put up its own standard bearer, much less complete even a half-slate of candidates for senators. The other faction of the PDP-Laban, mouthing a mumbo-jumbo of political creed, has adopted for its standard bearer a mongrel of a politician-boxer-entertainer who was a member of perhaps 7 or 8 political parties before coming on his own.

The CDP prides itself in its ideological pronouncements and public advocacies that differentiate the Centrist Democrats and dichotomizes its position from the rest based on its stand on a well-developed party platform extracted from more than a decade of seminars, discussions, dialogue, debate and soul-searching. Lifted in toto from its literature, I cite relevant portions: "The CDP upholds human dignity as its core value. We hold therefore that political, economic, and social order must be so logically designed that the dignity of each person is promoted and enhanced. Freedom is a prerequisite upon which human dignity is enhanced. Self-determination by each individual, an essential component, is the impetus for collective expression towards the development of a just society. And for society to prosper, it must make available to each individual the needed ingredients for a decent life."

From this preamble, the CDP's four pillars in its platform were articulated: shift the government from unitary-presidential to a parliamentary form; leading toward an eventual creation of a federal republic; the adoption of a social market economy (SOME) as the underpinning of the economy; and the institutionalization of real ideology and platform-oriented political parties.

But the CDP's choices in this 2022 election, particularly among the senators who must initiate the changes in the 1987 Constitution, may have been a disaster. A tragic version of CDP's own Sophie's choice.000
Read 147 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 April 2022 11:13
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