Damaged Democracy

Democracy, as commonly understood, is government by the people, of the people and for the people. That is to say: One, the country is governed by those whom the people chose to rule them. Two, government belongs to the people themselves that put it in place. Three, governance is intended for the good of people.

When a country is governed by individuals not really chosen or elected by the people, when those who govern look at people as belonging to them, and when governance is a disservice to the people, this is no less than a triple basic contradiction of democracy.

It is precisely under such circumstances adverse to democratic principles that make people as immediate victims. Government undermines their human dignity, violates their human rights, and curtails their pursuant human freedoms. All these errant actuations come as a matter of fact when a government has become for itself—having its self-preservation wherefore as its primordial concern and finality.

In the Philippine situation, the nature and finality of CPR (Calibrated Preemptive Response), plus the substance and form of Executive Order 464, plus the significance and implications of proclamation 1017—it is incongruous if not ridiculous to even think that these government acts affirm and promote democracy. All such enactments and everything else executory, in effect, bring about nothing less than a damaged democracy.

The threat that Presidential Proclamation 1017 can be readily reinvoked, the undergoing surveillance made against certain suspect civilians, media practioners, political and military figures, the building of jails ready to place them—all these are but concrete manifestations of a damaged democracy.

No wonder that there is fear in the air, resentment in the hearts and dissent in the streets. The air would be fresh once again, hearts would be light once more, and the streets would again be clear and clean when the government will ultimately learn that it is by the people, of the people and for the people. Otherwise, it remains a government under siege.