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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?

On The 2016 Elections (last of a series)



The 2016 Elections presents another opportunity for change. Not that His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III did not do well as a President. It’s just that an election presents a chance for a fresh start, an opportunity to rectify mistakes outgoing leaders may have committed during their incumbency and continue the programs they have implemented which are proven to be beneficial.

Under Noynoy’s watch the Philippines experienced a steady economic growth from 2010 to 2015. The battle the Aquino administration waged against graft and corruption is by all means serious. It resulted to the hospital arrest of a former President, netted the impeachment of a Chief Justice, forced the resignation of an Ombudsman in order to avoid impeachment, and led to the conviction and indictment of high-profile individuals, including three (3) incumbent senators. However, what may go down in history as the best legacy of the current administration are not economic gains nor the weeding out  of corrupt government officials but a bold educational reform… the introduction of the K to 12 program.

The Aquino-led government also made miscalculations and had misgivings. It is not  perfect, neither were past administrations. History will judge the present administration’s performance, it will decide whether or not Noynoy can be ranked among the best presidents Philippines had.

If the Liberal party (where Noynoy belongs) could have their way they would want their anointed candidate (Roxas) to win the presidential derby so he could continue the programs already in place. But Roxas’ fate, and those of the other candidates, are in the hands of the Filipino electorate.

No matter how great the accomplishments of Noynoy as president it is not a guarantee that the candidate he endorsed (Roxas) would be chosen as his successor. As a matter of fact, Roxas has not topped any of the election surveys held in the past months making many believe that it would be difficult for him to win. If the Filipino voters choose to hold  Noynoy accountable for his booboos as president and turn a blind eye on his accomplishments it now becomes a question of  whether Noynoy’s endorsement is a bane or a boon to Roxas’ candidacy.

The Filipinos are hard to please. They tend to remember the few mistakes people in position commit and forget about their many accomplishments. The most difficult part is that Filipinos demand too much from their leaders but they fail to perform their civic responsibilities.

So, it’s really time to change…time for Filipinos to change the way they choose leaders and time for them to change their perspectives about nation building. The 2016 elections present an opportune time to do exactly that.

One of the tragic flaws in the Filipino character is pinning their hopes on a leader to make their nation a great one. After all these years they haven’t realized that nation building is a shared responsibility between leaders and the citizenry and that, in reality, the citizens carry the bigger chunk of the burden because they are the ones choosing the leaders who will hold the reins of government.

The Filipinos refuse to be accountable. So, for the forthcoming presidential elections they have the same mind set. They still subscribe to the notion that the president they will elect must singlehandedly solve all the nation’s woes. The Filipinos blindly cling to the belief that the head of the executive branch of the government is a supernatural being who can weave magic and in a snap of a finger eradicate all of their problems and provide everything they need.

Whoever becomes the next president will be considered the anointed messiah who must work the miracles the Filipinos are expecting…no traffic, no power outages, more jobs, higher salaries, lesser taxes, subsidized education, more school buildings, and what-have-you. The elected president must deliver. He/she must curb criminality, end insurgency and eradicate poverty in the shortest possible time.

Who among the presidential hopefuls can do all the aforementioned? No one! Nobody from among Binay, Duterte, Poe, Roxas and Santiago can perform the miracles the Filipinos are expecting…unless they do their part…unless they contribute what they ought to.

A leader may be brilliant but if the citizens will not do their share in nation building then peace and prosperity will remain just a dream. It’s not demanding too much form the citizens. They only need to perform their civic responsibilities. That’s all they need to do.


There Are No Political Dynasties in the Philippines!!!

Don’t believe it when they say that the Philippines is a bastion of political dynasties!

Consider this… A politician, let’s say a mayor, can no longer run due to term limits. So, his wife will run for the position he previously held. Then that politician will 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, is it the end? Will their thirst for power (and the corresponding  benefits) be finally satiated?

Hell no! The couple will ask their son or daughter (or a grandson…or a granddaughter…or an in-law) to run for the positions they are about to vacate. What about the mother? She will run for the post vacated by the husband-politician. She will run as governor. What about the husband? He will perhaps run either as congressman or even senator. In case all family members win then for years that the power will run circles 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.

See! There are no political dynasties in the Philippines!

Why would you say that there are political dynasties in the Philippines? Is it because we have a president who happens to be a son of a former president and a senator and who has relatives in both the Senate and House of Representatives? Is it because we have a vice-president whose daughter is a senator and whose son is a city mayor?  Is it because we have senators and congressmen whose wives (or mistresses), husbands, siblings, sons, daughters and in-laws are either senators and congressmen like themselves or governors or mayors or what-have-you?

Then of course they will tell the people that they do not belong to a political dynasty…but a family of public servants. Okay! Fine!! Whatever!!!

The same family names…same genes…in the seats of power in the country for decades now. RESULT? Same dismal economic and socio-political performance for the country.

Round and round we’re going circles…DIZZYING! TIRING!

Long live the political dynasties! Long live the voters who get fooled into perpetuating them into power!

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