The most viable goal of One Voice

I do not envy the road One Voice has chosen. It will be criticized by those favouring impeachment of the President and it will be met with antagonism by those favouring the People’s Initiative. The animosity and suspicion is inevitable. Just look at the goals of One Voice.

1. Discontinuance of the present “people’s initiative”.
2. A social reform program now.
3. Elections in 2007 as scheduled, as an indirect referendum, and electoral reform now.
4. If necessary, a constitutional convention (not a “con-ass”) after the 2007 elections.
5. A collective effort to rebuild the trustworthiness of our democratic institutions.

One Voice’s goal of social reform program and rebuilding trust in the democractic intitutions are the most unassailable and most laudable goals they have lined up. Can you imagine anyone opposing such goals? No. What can be said about these goals are that they are an going process. Social reform programs and rebuilding trust are but a subset of the constant preoccupations of a democratic society. And these goals are often best started a society’s most cellular level - the individual.

The first part of their third goal is elections in 2007 as a indirect referendum. This would get the die-hard impeachment advocates up in arms. For them the only solution is the impeachment of the President. Any compromise would be a betrayal of their original goal to punish and unseat Arroyo. This goal of pushing through the elections in 2007 does not necessarily pose a threat to the charter change advocates - the question between One Voice and the People’s Intiative would be what election would be held in 2007.

The second part of their third goal, Electoral reform, is probably the most important goal of One Voice. There is a need to clean the election system, update the election process, and hopefully make it less long winded. What is often not mentioned in the criticism of the present presidential election process is the lack of a run-off voting or a two round system or a second ballot to ensure the plurality of the win. Another thing that is not mentioned often is the long-winded, pompous counting of the ballot by both Houses of the Philippine Congress.

There first and fourth goal of discontinuing the present People Initiative puts them in direct collision with the people for charter change. Those who believe in charter change see the importance of achieving it now.

It would seem that the people behind One Voice the most doable or achievable goal in the short term would be to reform the election process. Success of the 2007 election, in whatever form, will depend on this. Social reform and building trust in the democratic institution seems to be one on going goal.Lastly, the goals to stop the people initiative and support constitutional change through a constitutional convention seem to set them in a collision course with the groups for charter change.

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