June 21, 2024

Philippine politics observes the multi-party system in the registration and recognition of political parties. Unlike in the United States of America which follows the two-party system, the Democrats and the Republicans, in our country, there are several political parties from whence candidates may align themselves with.
Analysts say this is bad. They are blaming the multi-party system as the main culprit why every time we have an election, it is a mess. They assert that too many political parties breed confusion and make a mockery of the electoral process in the same way that having too many cooks spoil the broth.
This, to them, is the primary reason why for the past several elections, we cannot muster enough votes to elect a majority president. All of those who were elected were presidents by plurality of choice. I think that their analysis is misplaced.
Notwithstanding that there are too many political parties that are registered in our country, in the ultimate analysis, the two-party system remains to be controlling. Why do I say this? It is because the leanings and ideals of each political party can only be quantified into two.
First are the liberals and the second are the conservatives. The liberals are the opposition whereas the conservatives are the incumbents. By liberals, I do not mean the Liberal Party because the Liberal Party, per se, is actually more of a conservative party than a liberal party. So, where do the distinctions lie?
Liberals are political parties that have for its goal a sweeping reform in the programs of the current administration. Usually, the liberals are those who are in opposition to the present and ruling party since they are advocating a program of government that is different from that which is prevailing. On the other hand, conservatives are those who want to retain and continue with what is existing. They are those who adhere to the continuity of what was started by their predecessor. Conservatives are usually associated with the political parties that are aligned with the administration.
For example, the Partida Reporma ng Pilipinas of Isko Moreno, although not aligned with the political party of the President is actually not a liberal party but a conservative party. The party of former senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is also a conservative party since its program is aligned to that of the President’s. On the other hand, the political party of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, though it traces its roots to that of the President’s, is a liberal party. What makes a party a liberal or a conservative is not a matter of alliance but a matter of alignment.
Hence, whether the party is named after an alphabet acronym that is too hard to pronounce or is named after a traditional party that has been in existence since the beginning of Philippine independence, it can only be categorized as either a liberal party or a conservative party. In our system of politics, the characterization of any party may shift depending on the ruling coalition. Let me elaborate.
During the time of President Noynoy Aquino, the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party, two different political parties, are both conservative parties.
Currently, they shifted to become a liberal party. On the other hand, the Partida Reporma ng Pilipinas and the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan were liberal parties. They have since shifted to become conservative parties. In other words, a political party does not remain stagnant but shifts its category depending on who is in power.
If the reforms being instituted by one political party do not align with that of the ruling party, it becomes an opposition and, therefore, is a liberal party. But, if the reforms being instituted by it are within what is envisioned by the ruling party, it is a conservative no matter what name it bears.
Thus, to say that the multi-party is detrimental in choosing a majority leader is wrong. The multi-party system, which gives voters a wide array of political parties to choose from is, in fact, what the doctor ordered for us. This envisions our diversity in culture and allows us to express our freedom of choice because in the ultimate analysis, our choice will only lead to two paths – liberalism or conservatism.