Category Archives: Vote Buying

The Business Venture Called Politics

How many of the incumbent local and national officials in the Philippines (and also in your own country) can come forward and with  heads 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. And the investor in the politicians would expect a profit, not just a return on investment.

How much should a politician invest? Do the math.

According to the Commission on Elections, the number of registered voters for 2022 polls hit 63 million.

Last year (2020), the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 6095 amending provisions of RA No. 7166. The bill provides that those running for President and Vice President can spend up to P50 per voter for their campaign. That used to be P10 per voter. From P3, senators, district representatives, governor, vice governor, board members, mayor, vice-mayor, and councilors are now allowed to spend up to P30 per voter. But those who were not born yesterday know that candidates for national and local elections spend way much beyond what the laws allow.

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 to P2000 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 is 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 (and seek re-election). It’s as simple as A, B, or C.

A – 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 – an opportunity to wield power allowing the one who holds it to protect personal and family interests and to advance other personal motives and agendas.

C – love for public service.

The citizens who care are hoping it’s the C. For those who sell their votes, A and B. Why? Come on, don’t tell me you don’t know.

Let me end the way I started – with the following question.

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?

Allow me to ask one more question.

How many local and national officials whose assets did not exponentially increase at the end of their terms?

And one more…

How many of them ran (and obviously won) and will seek reelection – for the love of public service?


Sorry Wisely


Sorry Wisely!
Talo ka nanaman.

Paano ka ba naman mananalo…
eh di ka qualified.


Ah college graduate ka kamo!
Eh ano naman… kahit ba may PhD ka pa.
Ang tanong eh – may datung ka ba?

Wala! Wala! Walang… DATUNG
Kaya di ka qualified.

Bakit kaylangan ng datung?

We’re you born yesterday?
Oh kaninang madaling araw lang.

Malinis kamo record mo.
Who cares…?
Nobody… nobody but you.
Dahil ang tanong eh – “Meron ka bang datung?”

Ha? Handa ka kamong maglingkod.

Hindi pala dapat Wisely pangalan mo.
Mas bagay sa iyo ang pangalang engot.

Ang hanap ng botante…
hindi ang handang maglingkod
Ang hanap nila’y – ang handang magbayad.

Pera-pera ang labanan tsong.
Gets mo na?

Bakit ganun?
Aba malay ko.
Itanong mo kaya sa lolo mong panot.

Kaya… sorry na lang Wisely.
Better luck next time.

Try mo kaya mag-budots.
Baka makakuha ka next time ng –
mahigit labing-apat na milyong boto.


On Political Dynasties in the Philippines

screenshot_3A politician, let’s say a mayor, could no longer run for re-election due to term limits, what would the honorable gentleman do? Turn his back on politics? Of course not! Power is so addicting. So many of those who experienced to be at the helm of either local or national politics (and enjoyed the benefits, including those “passed under the table”) would not just quit politics nor pass the torch to another person.

So, what would happen?

His wife would run for the position he previously held. Then that politician would run for another post –  as governor perhaps. Assuming both the politician and his wife win and luckily get re-elected until they reach their term limits, would it be the end? Would their thirst for power (and the so-called “benefits”) be finally satiated?

Not by a long shot!

They are just starting to build a  political dynasty.

The couple would ask their son or daughter (or a grandson – or a granddaughter – or an in-law) to run for the positions they would vacate. The shocking thing (and you might not believe it), there are times that siblings, or even husbands and wives, would not give way to the other and so member of the same family would slug it out in the political arena. Anyway, this article is not about family member squabbling in the political arena – this is about the political dynasty their families created.

Let’s continue then.

Let’s go back to the mother who just reached her term limit as mayor? Would she go back to being a full-time mother and wife. I think you know the answer.  She would run for the post vacated by the husband-politician. The husband would then aim for  a higher position  – run either as congressman or even senator. In case all family members win then for years that the power will change hands within the same family. The son (or daughter) is a mayor, the mother a governor and the father either as congressman or senator. When term limits are reached then they will just run for the position that a family member would vacate. Some siblings, and even in-laws, in the family are also occupying minor positions in the geographical units where they reside.

That’s political dynasty.

What’s my beef with political dynasties? Let me answer that question with the following questions:

“How (did they perform) are they performing  as leaders?”

“What is the current economic, social and political condition of the country?”

“Is the Philippines  marching towards progress with them holding the reins of government?”

Of course you know the answers to the questions aforementioned.

How many of the available positions in the Philippine government, local and national, are held by the same families who have been the gods and goddesses of Philippine politics since time immemorial? Most of them are offspring of the peninsulares who survived  America’s power grab at the turn of the 20th century. Eventually they stayed in the country and reaped the dividends for doing so. And it’s not only the politics that they dominate. With the enormous fortune they inherited from their Spanish parents/grandparents, they also control the country’s economy. That’s why  Filipinos would sometimes jokingly ask – “Did the Spanish rule really end?”

Only the pure-blooded Filipinos and foreign expatriates of Chinese origin who became wealthy when the Americans took their turn to colonize the Philippine had the financial resources to challenge the Spanish mestizos for political supremacy in the Philippines, especially after the American granted the Filipinos their independence after the World War 2 . Some of them succeeded and when they experienced how intoxicating power is, they themselves established their political dynasties.

It is no longer surprising to know that politicians occupying national positions have one, or two (I hope not all) family members and in-laws occupying seats in the local government.

You might ask – “When would having the same people from the same families passing the reins of leadership to each other in both the national and local governments after elections end?”

It might not!


It would require for a candidate to have sacks (if not truckloads) of money to win in an election in the Philippines.

You were probably born yesterday if you don’t understand what I mean.

Rare are real public servants getting elected in the Philippines. The ones in position, usually, are the rich and powerful – those who could buy votes. Politicians buy votes because most (I’m not saying all) Filipino voters sell their votes to the highest bidders.

Midterm election in the Philippines is on May, 2019.

Will the Filipinos sell their votes again?

Will the political dynasties continue their reign?

Only God knows!

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