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Political turncoats are shameless

MANILA

Politicians here are still switching parties, from their losing ones in last May 2016’s elections to the party in power, which used to have only a handful of members.

Changing political parties for convenience or selfish interest is the most odious political exercise. Except, of course, for stealing the people’s money, but that’s not a political exercise, it’s an exercise of insatiable greed.

Political turncoats — “balimbing” in colloquial ridicule — are shameless opportunists who should be disowned by their constituents and disdained by all.

Before it recedes in the minds of our notorious attention-deficit society, let’s take note that a recent batch of balimbings again abandoned their respective parties and switched over to the administration side. As we all know, the balimbing is a multi-sided fruit, thus the allusion to two-facedness or infidelity.

In mature societies turncoatism is frowned upon and those guilty of it are treated like lepers, not to be touched lest other people get contaminated by their deadly affliction. Indeed in the rare occasion of a turncoat leaving his or her party, that politician isn’t likely to be welcomed by any other party. The result is he or she becomes an independent. But, again, bolting one’s party is a rare event in the politically mature countries like the United States.

For what is the point of joining a party if at one time a member simply leaves for another one, usually the party in power? That reeks of gross opportunism, switching parties just because the party in power has all the perks and privileges.Turncoatism is also shameless, unprincipled and it erodes whatever integrity the turncoat had before.

Balimbings justify jumping the fence by saying their constituents would suffer if they didn’t get any funds for their home projects from the national budget.

That’s a bogus excuse. The voters chose you as belonging to a particular party. Even if your party becomes a minority party, you should stay there because one, that is the party to whom you swore allegiance and two, that was the party to which you belonged when the voters chose you.

In any case, a minority legislator should fight for his or her share of project funds, making as much noise as possible to get the money.

To use the voters as an excuse is so shameless and lacking in conviction. It’s just to cover your sin of abandoning the party that took you under its wing, the party that supported your candidacy, and the party whose banner you hoisted in the campaign.

Abandoning the party that nurtured your political career is sheer disloyalty. Most of all it’s a sign that you’re a person that cannot be trusted with the tag: “Party member.”Wholesale turncoatism is nothing but herd mentality, the fear of being left alone by one’s lonesome. It betrays a lack of manly resolve, of no scruples, and of being a wimp.

Politicians in mature societies are proud of their party membership, something they take to their grave.

Here in the Philippines, party membership is just for convenience. It counts for nothing much. It’s something politicians discard like dirty underwear, or an aging mistress. It’s something that means nothing to many politicians.

The latest batch of balimbing included the ambitious daughter of the former leader of the pre-Duterte majority party. The father, for his part, was among the first eager-beaver balimbings who rushed over to Davao City to kiss the president-elect’s hand and offer his allegiance. Another member of the new balimbings is a former actor’s wife, who has contributed very little to lawmaking.

Turncoats are rotten fish, they smell to the high heavens. They’re lucky that in this benighted country, many people are used to the stench that they don’t notice new piles of decaying fish, pretending to be servants of the people.

 

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