CONGRATULATIONS to the Rotary Club of Angeles Kuliat for staging and opening it to the public the recent forum of the three leading mayoralty candidates namely Alex Caugiran, Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin and Bryan Nepomuceno. I hope the two other cities and towns can sponsor this town hall meetings of candidates. It is for the sake of what we term as “well informed citizenry”. It is lot better if it can be covered live by both the local television and radio stations “gratis et amore” as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). Though let me state clearly that there are no winners in public debates among political candidates. Meaning, you won in the debate, you will the elections. Nah! Far from it. It doesn’t mean that you scored high in debates you will win the votes even those who are present who are mostly “hakot”, followers of the candidates.
Some candidates may view it as a waste of time but to me it’s not really. It has some redeeming value. The reason most of the think tank group backing certain candidates feel that in today’s current culture it is the candidate who is the biggest spender most likely will clinch victory. Maybe so. And maybe not. Why maybe so? It will depend on how the money will be distributed. In most cases, political leaders are trusted in coming out with a list of street, purok and barangay leaders. The amount to be handed is determined on rankings. A barangay captain gets more than a kagawad. A purok leader gets more than a common household. The amount will also depend on the number of persons in that particular household. If all those people will work honestly for the candidate, the chances are bigger as against those of a popular and sensible one who have less logistical support.
Why maybe why not? It is not really an airtight guarantee that because you spent more than the opponents, you are sure that the victory is in your hands. In many cases, your opponents are also greasing the same hands which are in your payroll. And in many cases too the so-called leaders are pocketing the money intended for the listed beneficiaries.
Vote buying is too common in every election in this country. The first question by kin and friends when you tell them that you have an intention to run for public office is: “Do you have money, real money to fund the campaign?” And the second question ask is if you’re willing to let go of your savings despite no guarantee of victory. You may be so naive if you think that there’s a law on overspending. That the threshold is only P3 per registered voter. I hate to say this, but all candidates spend more than what’s required by law. And the Commission on Elections is inutile in enforcing the law. If a winning candidate is unseated because of overspending, then he has to fire his accountant. All the candidates, sans very very exception, or maybe no exception at all that they will honestly list their real election expenses. Because what is said in the law is too unrealistic and unreasonable.
MY TWEETS: Noted and interesting three cornered political contests are in Porac with Vice Mayor Dexter David in a race vs Barangay Captain Jong Capil and former Governor Mark Lapid. In Angeles City the competition is a close contest between the three bets, Alex Caugiran, Bryan Nepomuceno and Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin. No one can predict the winner at this early. On one on one, the match ups in the City of San Fernando between Vilma Caluag and incumbent Edwin Santiago is also a close contest. Same in Sto. Tomas between Ninang Ronquillo vs. incumbent John Sambo. Hoy John, magsikap ka, sabi nga ni Dela Atayatayan. The Ninang is gaining too much ground. The latest survey in Mabalacat City, Mayor Cris Garbo is much ahead vs Vice Mayor Christian Halili. And in Bacolor town Diman Datu is full steam ahead, and Derek Hizon, has to roll his sleeves to catch up. It is not interesting in Guagua, Mexico and in Lubao. Hands down for the incumbents and for Esmie Pineda in Lubao. More about the interesting political contest in my next column.