Serving the People?-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Monday, January 14, 2013
THE official date of the start of campaigning for local candidates is March 29, says the Commission on Elections.
Is it being followed? Ask anybody if it is being observed, the answer will definitely be a big NO.
Us Filipinos have the knack for flatly defying laws. If there is warning sign on a wall which says: "Bawal Umihi Dito," many will start urinating on that particular spot.
When a man was accosted by a barangay tanod while relieving his bladder on the said spot and reminded him that what he was doing was against the law, the man replied with a sneer, saying what he was doing was not against the law; rather it was against the wall. Oh my goodness, the temerity.
If the leaders of this country, including those aspiring for higher offices like senators, ignore election laws, there is no reason why the Comelec will impose it on those seeking for countryside offices.
It is a little bit cruel to say that the Comelec is somehow inutile when it comes to enforcing enacted rules. There are laws with regard to poll spending, but I am very sure that most, if not all, will go beyond the limit when it comes to expenditures.
We have yet to hear about one who was penalized as provided by law with regard to overspending. In the past years, and the more years to come, candidates will simply ignore the rules since no penalty is meted.
This is the most expensive elections ever held in the political history of our country. For one, the election season started October 1 last year when candidates went to Comelec offices and filed their certificates of candidacy (COC).
The moment that a COC is filed, the candidate becomes fair game. There are people who take advantage of the season. No politician will ever refuse a solicitation. The amounts given to those who knock on his door vary though.
Campaign materials, just like the common grocery items that we buy from supermarkets, trebled in prices. Some print shops up their prices during the election period, just like when flowers are sold three or four times their original price during the celebration of Valentine's Day.
Those running for the senate must have unlimited funds. Unlike local candidates who can easily cover every square inch of the local territory, they can only make pit stops on urban centers, so they must buy their exposure thru television ads.
A 30-seconder on shows on primetime TV may cost a candidate somewhere from P100,000 to P150,000 per spot. It is a lot less on radio spots, but it will depend also on time, the network and who are the anchors.
It is estimated that a senatorial candidate has to shell out at least half a billion pesos in order to wage a decent nationwide campaign. Now the question arises. Why do these candidates, both local and national, spend a fortune just to get elected, when their salaries cannot even approximate what they spend?
That's a nice question begging for an answer. If you pose that on any candidate, he has a ready answer: “I want to serve the people.” He he he.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 15, 2013.