"I don’t think even a law prohibiting ‘turncoatism’ would do the trick."
While reading recently about the programs of the administration of two of Metro Manila’s largest cities —Quezon City and Parañaque City —to the use of plastic items that are used only once, I got to musing about the need to move in the opposite direction where plastic politicians are concerned. The items that Mayor Joy Belmonte’s and Mayor Edwin Olivarez’s administrations are concerned about are single-use plastic items, while plastic politicians are multiple-use items.
Single-use plastic items—utensils, plates, cups, glasses and drinking straws—have lately been shown to be highly detrimental to the national physical environment. Multiple-use plastic politicians have always been very bad for this country’s political environment. Connecting the single-use plastic situation has been easy. All that the Quezon City and Paranaque City governments have had to do has been to pass the appropriate ordinances. That action has now been taken and the affected businesses—the fast food establishments and tourism entities especially—have no choice but to make the appropriate adjustments to their operations.
Dealing with multiple-use plastic politicians is an entirely different matter. Such politicians have become endemic to this country’s political system; allowing themselves to be used in multiple-use fashion has become part and parcel of today’s typical Filipino politician. Truly, the single-use Filipino politician is an endangered species.
The road of post-World War II Philippine political history is littered with the moribund bodies of the political parties that most of today’s politicians have embraced in the course of their multiple-use political lives - PPP (Progressive Party of the Philippines), Grand Alliance, KBL (Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan), LDP (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino), and others. The great majority of today’s politicians have been members of at least two of these parties. No sooner has a victorious minority-party representative or senator taken his oath of office than he joins the party of the victorious presidential candidate. Joining the latest supermajority is the game most of today’s Filipino politicians play.
From time to time, a law prohibiting “turncoatism” has been proposed as the way to deal with multiple-use plastic politicians. Will such a law do the trick? As long as today’s typical politicians have nostrils that know the smell of gravy, I don’t think so. That threat to the national environment will, sadly, remain.