Friday August 17, 2018

Legaspi: How much are you?

Politics is the best business in the Philippines. It’s one of the most profitable businesses in the country. You invest a little and you get a good return.

May 14, the nation once again saw the day where local barangay officials shall wait for the result of their investments. Their fates fall on the tip of the pen and not on the conscience of the voter.

Most voters no longer look for the qualifications or for the quality of service one could offer but rather how much one had given?

Since time immemorial vote buying had been the rule of the game. The highest bidder will be the winner. I remembered that in one of the national elections, the price of the vote went up to one thousand per vote. I was shocked to hear this for many families received only a hundred as assistance for transportation.

But in one place here on the planet earth – it became a thousand per voter. The politician surely won and complaints were filed but all failed and went to deaf ears.

Now, the politician – the investor is enjoying the fruits of his investment. Poor other investors for they could only give as high as five hundred pesos.

One candidate for kagawad post told me that it is very expensive to run. They have to have a fund to pay for their watchers and their volunteers. He has to set aside party funds and funds for handbills and paraphernalia. So, these are mandatory expenses.

The worst expense is to give something token to voters. A candidate (in 2016) told me he understands that vote–buying is wrong but he has to join the bandwagon, lest he will be out of the list. He was suppose-to-be the conscience of the party. He tried to reduce the amount to be given to the voters. He told them that it was wrong. So, he did not win.

Other candidates invest in “utang na looob.” They become “good Samaritans” for the past four months. They become the most helpful and even most knowledgeable person in the community.

It seems that they become an extension of the Department of Social Welfare. It seems that they also have the solutions to most of the community and personal problems.

This is a long-term investment but one becomes a sure winner. If these people will not win in the elections, for sure, they will always come back on you and brand you as “persona-non-grata” or “wala kabalaslan.”

We have to be careful of these people for they run not for service but for the big salary afforded by the elective position.

Why invest? Allow me to give five reasons:

First, one gets a regular salary for the next term and one gets a good share in every project (economic).

Second, one gets the treatment and honor of an “haciendero” (social).

Third, everyone looks up to you as an incarnation of the higher officials (cultural).

Fourth, you become very popular and will boost your confidence (self-esteem) and lastly, you feel the people really like you. There are still more reasons to think of but I end here.

Lastly, I pity the young people being used by calloused politician-investors to get the votes of the family and the friends.

In the past, many arguments have been presented to protect the young people from the corruption of the system, but most politicians still need them, so the system continues.

I was once given a hundred bucks before I went to the precinct. I returned the envelope and told the giver that I am not worth a hundred bucks.

Tell your boss, I am more than a hundred pesos. Joke.