“Woman changes by intrigue the universal end of the government into a private end, transforms its universal activity into a work of some particular individual, and perverts the universal property of the state into a possession and ornament for the family.” – G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
The provocative passage from the German philosopher is a perfect example of the feminist claim that all hitherto existing philosophies which purport to be ‘sexless’ actually privileges men. This, however, should not prevent us from getting some kernel of truth from it. What Hegel offers is a description of the workings of the majority of our country’s class of politicians who, being landlords and compradors, assume office for the sole purpose of advancing their own private interests.*
The railroading of Charter Change (Cha-Cha) is but another step in a longer series of calculated moves, the shape of which should become clearer in time. The observation that the move by Congress to convene itself into a constituent assembly even without the Senate serves an underlying purpose to benefit the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is an obvious one. That this is related to preserving and extending its power is accepted by almost everyone.†
The Arroyo regime has repeatedly weathered crises spawned by various scandals. Why? For sure, several factors contributed to Arroyo’s continued stay in power. One crucial aspect is the majority’s cynical acceptance of the regime’s arrogant disregard for appearances. This seeming lack of respect for the people’s sensibilities on the part of the regime does not at all point to a lack of sense. What does it have to be ashamed of when many readily accept things the way they are?
People could endlessly complain about how politics in the country is a sham and so on without stopping ourselves from playing along with the game. This cynicism aids in the survival of the regime while giving us some measure of satisfaction by giving the wrong impression that we had no real part in perpetuating the state of “business-as-usual.” Simply put – with such cynical subjects what need does the regime have for legal niceties and ethical pretenses?
We all know that Arroyo ran for a second term in spite of her previous promise to the contrary, that she cheated in the elections and even apologized for it but assumed the office of the presidency anyway, that her administration is utterly rotten and corrupt, and that she will do anything to keep herself in power including the killing and abduction of her regime’s vocal critics. The list goes on and on. Many would like to believe that they are against the evils of the regime yet they continue to act as if they accept it all as how life is.
What we see today is a regime repeatedly pushing its luck, carrying out even more brazen acts knowing that it can get away with it anyway. Today we have Cha-Cha. What comes tomorrow? ■
* I am even tempted to add that perhaps Hegel saw the future and that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the woman he referred to in his magnus opus.
† Cha-Cha will also involve the deleting of economic provisions in the constitution that limit foreign ownership of lands and industries.