THE significance of the 30 pieces of silver with which Judas Iscariot sold Jesus Christ finds parallelism in contemporary electoral fraud of selling and buying of votes. The analogy has startling semblance in that the deal was done in secrecy even as the disciples and Jesus himself knew the betrayal was to take place. In our time, politicians and their minions would deny the indecency of vote buying even as everybody knew it is taking place. Jesus was set up by Judas in the darkness of the night and sealed his identity with a kiss. Politicians and those who trade their votes do their thing on the night on the eve of election day.

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But some politicians and gullible voters cannot even wait. To gather people around them to listen to their speech, politicians go all the way to paying people and shamelessly bussing them to their rallies. Hakot is the Visayan term for it.

Judas Iscariot was the "bag man" of the disciples. He had wanted to buy a farm or field and the 30 pieces of silver handed to him by a priest (Caiaphas) would realize that plan. Caiaphas later turned over Jesus to Pontius Pilate.

Judas was so guilt-stricken he returned the bribe-money to Caiaphas. Neither this nor his grief and guilt, however, saved Jesus from death on the cross and he from suicide. Some accounts had it that as he hung the noose around his neck loosened he fell on his fat belly which burst open exposing his innards and too was disemboweled. A miserable death brought upon him by the jingling of the 30 pieces of silver.

The yearning and quest for power, influence and money have driven politicians from going to the extremes and sometimes madness. The Caiaphas among them lures voters in need of something to tie them up. Money is so easy to come by and so are the goodies. Like Judas not a few will trade their votes for P500 and maybe more. The advise of the wise: Take the offer for after all that money is from the taxpayers stolen from the government coffers, then vote as your conscience dictates.

That piece of advice ought to reverberate in all nooks and crannies of the squatters' communities for not a few of them think that they owe some debt of gratitude to politicians who hand them cash. They may be poor and suffer the curse of poverty but let not the pangs of conscience bother them for their misery.