Elections in the Philippines bring good and bad news. Usher in hope and fear. This is not to say that elections in other developing countries do not mean the same, one way or another. But specifically for the Filipinos, many of them harbor ambivalent feelings about elections, be these for local and/or national public officials.
Philippine elections are much welcome for the big excitement they bring such as their accompanying noisy gatherings, fiery speeches, dances and songs. It is for this reason that election campaigns are even called a “circus”. At the same time however, elections in this country are infallibly accompanied by anger and hatred, fights and deaths even.
A distinct good news that Philippine elections send is the message that there is still democracy in the country one way or another. But the singular bad news they bear is the expectation of cheating that comes in different ways and means—some ingenious, others gross.
The most exceptional fact that infallibly accompanies elections in the Philippines is the money—truly enormous amounts of money that practically floods the country. This extraordinary phenomenon has special relevance to the pro-administration candidates.
Especially during these times in the country, the assumption akin to certitude is that the administration can ill afford having its loyal candidates lose the elections. This possibility spells big danger for Malacañang to hold on to power and to wield influence in favor of its own desire and design. For this reason, it would not spare public funds to pay for the election expenses of its own candidates especially for Congress.
The ultimate result is obvious: money has begun flooding the country in terms of payments such as for the following: transports, stages, lights and sounds. Tri-media advertisements, streamers and posters, shirts, caps and pins. Food, drinks, give-aways. Campaign offices, communications and equipments all these spell money in favor of many different business establishments.
Campaign managers, assistants and messengers. Legal personnel, accountants and standing followers, accompanying security people, para-medics, personal media practitioners. Different support groups. National and local poll plus ballot watchers. This not to mention those raising up streamers and putting up posters and the like. All these mean money in favor of people.
The bad news: after the elections, the government will simply suck up the money back to its coffers one way or another, to finance its own expenses. But even for a brief period of time, there was money in the hands of people.
7 March 2007