Mikey (Party) Time

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A friend of mine says that if your administration is so mistrusted, whatever you do will always be treated with more than the usual dose of suspicion.  It’s not because of blind hatred, but because you didn’t cultivate and foster the trust of the people in your governance and policies.  The same is true for Mikey: no matter how sincere he is in serving the marginalized sector of tricycle drivers and security guards (whose interests should already be represented in Congress on account that they’re workers and taxpayers… yes, I’m giving Mikey the benefit of the doubt), he’ll always be seen otherwise.

My informal, irrelevant, non-scientific poll of security guards and tricycle drivers show that none of them really want Mikey Arroyo to represent them in Congress.  In all fairness, though, he’d probably make a good representative for them… if he starts wearing “Good Morning” towels and carries around a nightstick while he monitors attendance in the House of Representatives.  At least, that’s a step-up from making movies like “Sablay Ka Na, Pasaway Ka Pa,” “A.B. Normal College,” and starring alongside Roi Vinzon (who ran once for the Baguio City Council) and Lito Lapid (who’s running for Senator) in “Lagarado: Ibabalik Kita sa Pinanggalingan Mo” (fierce).

The problem isn’t Mikey (well, he is a problem), but the practice of the party-list system.  It’s no longer the sincere struggle to represent marginalized sectors in Congress, but to create marginalized sectors for the sake of representation and what comes along with it.  That comes with dozens upon dozens of parties with dozens upon dozens of nominees (Onemig Bondoc included) and creatively-structured party-list names just so that they can be first in the ballot.  See, the honorable, august and septembered Congressmen you elect on a regular basis can’t do a good job at representing your interests if you’re a marginalized sector.

If we’re going to debate over the nuances and the semantics of fine print, yes, there’s nothing wrong with anyone to represent anyone’s interest in Congress, no matter how distatesful and disgusting it is.  True: while Mikey not being a security guard or tricycle driver (or a tricycle-driving security guard or a security guard in charge of a garage of tricycles) has nothing to do with his Congressional bid, it begs that certain sense of propriety of being steeped in them, of being one of them.  There’s nothing illegal with it, but there’s something wrong with it: something that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.  Taste, manners, and good sense are never legislated.  Especially if we’re talking about things like power, like interests, like rights.

Yet the party-list law, like every other law, is not written in the interest of semantics alone: there is a spirit behind it.  The party-list law, from my understanding, was made in the spirit of the common, marginalized Filipino citizen to have a voice in the House of Representatives.  It is not for the sake of filling in seats, it is not for the sake of perpetuating political ambitions, or spreading pork funds around.  Any tricycle driver or security out there should be representing their fellow workers in the boiling cauldron that is Congress.

Which brings us to a nuance that has always existed: that there is no one-to-one correspondence between “legal” and “right.”  Many of the most ridiculous, assiduous, and reprehensible acts in human history have been validated and recognized on the basis of them being legal.  Ultimately, I think the lot of tricycle drivers and security guards – perhaps represented by those I’ve talked to – know the answer to it.  As one of them said:

“Di po sa hindi alam ni Mikey maging kagaya naming sikyo.  Pero sa akin lang po, di naman po makatarungan na ibalato ko ang boto ko sa kanya kung alam ko naman mayroon pa siguro diyan na makakatugon sa pangangailangan ko.  Di po para sa kanyang pakay ang boto ko.”

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