Category Archives: 2016 Elections
How many of the country’s incumbent local and national officials can come forward and with a head held high say that they did not buy their way to victory?
The painful truth is that elections have turned out to be a business venture. Politicians are like businessmen who if they hope to win must be willing to make an investment.
How much should a politician invest? Do a rough estimate.
According to the Commission on Elections, there are roughly 56.4 million voters in the Philippines for the 2016 elections. Republic Act 7166 allows campaign expenses of P10 per voter for candidates for President and Vice-president and P3 for other candidates. But those who were not born yesterday know that candidates for national and local elections spend way much beyond what the laws allow.
There is a bill pending in the House of Representatives seeking to increase the allowable campaign expenses. If approved, presidential candidates will be allowed to spend P50 (vice-presidential and senatorial bets P35 and local candidates P30) for each voter.
But beyond what the statutes allow, a candidate has to dig deeper into his pocket if he hopes to win. Vote-buying is no longer a secret making this writer say that election now is nothing but a business venture. It is no longer the best and most qualified candidates getting elected but the ones who have enormous financial resources.
A candidate willing to pay at least P500 for every voter is likely to win. The percentage for winning gets higher if the one seeking an elective position has the capacity of making that amount higher…like P1000 for each vote.
Now, do the Math if you wish to know how much a candidate needs to prepare for his election bid. Include the amount needed for campaign advertisement, salaries of campaign leaders per geographical unit (province, town, city, barangay, districts or zones) depending on which position being sought, and other miscellaneous expenses. Don’t forget to add the amount a candidate is willing to pay for each voter (multiplied by the number of voters.)
For the millions of pesos those candidates extricate from their coffers what do they wish to get in return?
It’s not difficult to determine what drives people to run for election. It could be A, B or C with A being a political position is a business venture for which they expect to get returns for their investments and a whole lot of profit (How? Use your imagination!!!), B it being an opportunity to wield power allowing the one who holds it to protect personal and family interests and to advance other personal motives and agenda, and C love for public service.
The citizens who care are hoping it’s the C. For those who sell their votes it doesn’t matter whichever.
Something tells me that whoever wins the 2016 presidential elections, the Filipino dream for a better nation will remain as it is… a dream.
Call it a bleak forecast but there is no reason to be optimistic. As the country inches closer to the next political derby there’s nothing that could be gleaned from the electoral process ongoing that would indicate that something new and better is about to come or happen. There’s nothing new… nothing better. In fact, everything we’re hearing and witnessing are “restored from the recycle bin.”
We have the same familiar faces dotting the nation’s political landscape…the same personalities who had slugged it out for national and local positions in the past are the same people who would lock horns in the 2016 elections. They have been the ones in whose hands the reins of government changed producing the same ABYSMAL socio-economic and political performance for the nation.
In case nobody has noticed these personalities come mostly from the same clans who have been lording it over in the political arena for decades now. Most of them are scions of powerful and wealthy Spanish mestizos. Their Spanish grand parents (or great grand parents), as anyone familiar with Philippine history knows, happened to be the former colonial masters of the Filipinos. Some were former associates of the then powers-that-be who became rich and powerful after getting their shares from the spoils of struggles for power which they joined and won. There were also celebrities (movie and TV stars, singers, athletes, etc.) who took advantage of their popularity or that of their parents or siblings.
But there are also honest-to-goodness leaders who chiseled their political fame with hard work and the genuine desire to serve the people. They are few and far between though and much as politics is also a numbers game their call for change and reforms is like a voice in the wilderness.
It’s a tug-of-war among the personalities aforementioned, and whoever wins among them may just (if I may use this phrase again) “restore from the recycle bin” the same kind of leadership that has repeatedly failed to steer this nation to greatness. But in case the STUBBORN electorate will again make do of them, let them be given the benefit of the doubt (for the nth time).
These politicians who failed to lead the Philippines to a better standing in the community of nations keep seeking reelection. Unfortunately, notwithstanding their dismal performance as public servants they keep winning.
They keep winning because they have the M’s…manpower, machinery and MONEY. Money can buy anything, including VOTES.