The recent results of the United States mid-term elections have shattered the dominant rule of Barack Obama and his Democrats. It is a reflection of the frustration of the people on the failure of the Obama administration to bring about any fundamental change and to resolve the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, there is also a trend further right in American politics, with known conservatives taking seats in the Lower House and the Senate (probably a consequence of the weakness of the progressive movement in the US).
The recent US polls tell us that the message of CHANGE cannot be a mere catchphrase without concrete action. Frustration over failed promises can result in a terrible political backlash on the incumbent. This is a lesson the Philippine president must also take note of.
President Benigno Aquino III, who also echoed the mantra of “change”, may be setting himself up for an “epic fail” with the way his government is being run. Many promises have not been delivered and have contributed to great frustration among his own supporters.
The following factors can contribute to the speedy political decline of Aquino in the next two years:
1. Failure to prosecute Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her cohorts for massive corruption, election fraud and gross human rights violations.
2. Failure to resolve the economic crisis including problems of unemployment, landlessness for farmers, rising taxes and dwindling spending for social services.
3. Failure to uphold national sovereignty especially on crucial issues like the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement.
4. Failure to stem extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses along with his failure to release political prisoners.
5. Failure to resolve factionalism in government and his double-standards in dealing with official incompetence.
Aquino must not think of himself as invincible or incapable of doing any wrong. His first 100 days have shown very few results and achievements in terms of governance, human rights, the economy and foreign policy. His first 100 days merely echoed many of the failed neo-liberal policies of the past regime, even making Arroyo’s dole-out program, the Conditional Cash Transfer, as the centerpiece of his anti-poverty measures.
The Philippine president cannot take comfort in so-called survey results that may appear to be in his favor at the moment. The Aquino regime, even with such overly optimistic survey results, will be a flash in the pan when it fails to bring about genuine pr0-people reforms.
Aquino should instead heed the people’s persistent and just demands for change. ###