Rarely a day passes that a big article about the “presidentiables” of one party or another dominates the front section of the Philippine newspapers. Due to the moving-up of the candidacy filing deadline to November, the political parties are scrambling to find their squeaky-clean, telegenic, “Time for Change” standard-bearer. After all, in the Philippines, the Presidency is the key to true power.
However, if they hope to create real change, the reform parties should try their best to contest the congressional elections. One important step towards a healthier Republic is a lower house that is more independent of the executive branch. Currently, the House is populated mostly by Administration allies and members of virtual Noble Houses from the provinces that do little to improve the Republic.
Any effort to change the composition of the lower house may seem futile, considering the vast amount of resources and coercive power the incumbents and their allies hold. However, defeating entrenched political dynasties has been proven possible – see Gov. Ed Panlilio’s victory in Pampanga as proof. In reality, any change in the lower house this time around will be incremental at best. Still, it is important to take the first step towards creating a more responsive, responsible lower house.