In the realm of Philippine politics, specially so on the occasion of the much expected forthcoming national elections next year – in the event that the political exercise would really come to pass and thereafter could become free of a subsequently declared “failure” – it is both useful or practical to put in black and white the following realities affined with Philippine elections: One, elections are one big fiesta in this Country, with practically all Candidates generously funding all kinds of conceivable celebrations, loudly parading themselves all over the place, ostensibly giving people food and drink here and then, happily handling cash and/or goods to as many voters as possible. Two, elections mean calling for big entertaining public meetings in every conceivable time and place, with the people watching movie stars and stage performers singing and dancing, and mostly pretending to listen to the Candidates making one delirious speech after another. Three, elections of politicos in the Philippines are definitely not about nationalistic ideals or noble causes, but rather about rhetoric and visions, certainly not about facts and realities but instead about heavenly promises and super-projections.
Lastly and more importantly, for political Candidates to win elections, “Pera at Makinaria” – plenty of money irrespective of the source plus a well oiled or much funded political machinery – these two realities make the big difference for them in triumphantly winning or miserably losing elective positions. As to the competence and attributes, principles and value systems of the Candidates – never mind really. These are not that relevant in their election or rejection by the voters in general. No wonder then the low kind of politics as well as the poor qualities of the politicians that this Country has – especially during the passed eight years. It wherefore becomes understandable why politics is looked down upon and politicians by and large become big jokes as far as good number of people are concerned – specially the thinking and sensible ones.
As to the essential ingredient of “Pera” or the great drawing power of money, it becomes a moral impossibility for a Candidate without command of much cash, to win an elective office notwithstanding his competence and integrity. The sad truth has to be accepted that pervasive poverty and real democracy are not really compatible. This is precisely why it is during election time that image of Santa Clause political Candidates and the beggar voting public, vividly become a living reality. As to the factor of “Makinaria” or the political machinery made up of political big-wigs, particularly those still in tenure of public offices from the local to the national hierarchy of a given political party, this is another irreplaceable ingredient for avidly aspiring political Candidates to win. Without “pera” and “makinaria”, the Candidates would be standing but in thin air as they pursue their desired elective offices. The machinery is said to be the by-product of partisan politics – noting well however that in the Country, there are no permanent political parties but only permanent interests.
September 4, 2009