Over a Cup of Tea
them over for a day or two, not even realizing that they are being taken for a ride. Tell me, how would these candidates get back their election
There are lists being taken by unofficial “election coordinators” or simply candidates’ voter-lists. The rumor is, if your name is in it, you get at least
Php 300 (roughly $6) and the opportunity to join your chosen candidate or party during their campaign sorties (of course, with free food, T-Shirt,
and perhaps allowance). Well, I see some jobless folk, students, bored housewives, and still-can-walk oldies, on a few of these so-called
surveys or lists of potential voters and supporters. So pardon my language for saying that this part of the strategy to get the poor’s vote is dirty.
I am really tempted (and I have expressed this to close friends) to have a tarpaulin announcement made and display it prominently in front of my
yard, with the following statements:
“Do not sell your vote. It is the most important right you have under the Constitution. (Huwag mong ibenta ang iyong boto. Ito ang
pinakamahalagang karapatan mo ayon sa Saligang Batas.)
“Vote for genuine community servants, not wealth servants. (Ihalal lamang ang mga tunay na lingkod-bayan, hindi lingkod-yaman.)
“The true Filipino who loves his country doesn’t have a peso sign on his face. (Ang makabayang Pilipino ay hindi mukhang piso.)
Then I plan to sign it with:
2017 Pinakamagandang Lola ng Laguna (ANILAG)
1977 University of the Philippines-Diliman
The only hindrance for doing so is the advice by a very close friend who warned me about the dangers of involvement in politics by trying to correct
voter impressions. She told me that dirty politics even drives fanatics to extremes, like assassinations, which is quite “common” especially in
local places like provinces and municipalities.
So I am having second thoughts about the plan. I still want to live and focus on other important matters such as my family, my work, and my
lifestyle as a happy retiree.
I worked for more than 25 years in the Philippine government, first in the Commission on Audit, then two decades in the legislature. Go figure why
auditors look for anomalous contracts entered into by many local and national officials. Go figure why many elected officials who started with
nothing end up getting wealthy. Go figure why the Philippines’ poor get poorer and their number increases seemingly forever. I hate dirty politics,
but that’s what we have. Unless and until our electorate chooses candidates with proven integrity, honesty, and genuine desire to serve, dirty
politics will remain.
The real work to make a difference is educating people and making them self -sufficient to a point where a little grease money isn’t necessary to
choose who to vote for.
Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin
I am, almost always, tempted to only write about beautiful things in my native country, the Philippines; not only to
help improve its image to the world but more importantly, to make Filipinos more proud of their homeland. But in
recent months, I have observed an election strategy which I have come to dislike to the core.
This 2019 is an election year for both national and local officials, except the president and vice president. It is
therefore normal to see roadsides and front yards full of banners urging people to vote for particular candidates,
or to hear deafening sound systems in trucks and other vehicles broadcasting similar advertisements. While I
truly do not like littering and creating noise in public places (with these ad vehicles creating enormous traffic
jams on their way), these are minor inconveniences compared to this particular observation: gatherings
distributing goodies (rice, groceries, T-Shirts with printed names of candidates) and cash, when there are no
natural disasters happening around.
To attract more people to come to these parties, attendees are offered free food, drinks, and the chance to win big raffle prizes of more goodies
and appliances! The parties are usually held separately for different groups of voters: tricycle drivers and operators, teachers, senior citizens,
laborers, etc. It is therefore a common sight to see drivers in “uniform” wearing their free T-Shirts, proud to freely advertise the candidate who gave
them the same, oblivious to the fact that they are being used as free advertising agents. It is also common to hear people on the street say, “It
was great to attend the ‘rally’ because I got to eat good food and take home some groceries!”
|(L-R) A voter wears a T-Shirt of a candidate running for councilor, which was patterned after a
basketball team's uniform; front of a house by the road, full of candidates' tarpaulins.
The masses of our people are poor. That fact is, and
has always been, a candidate’s focus during
election. Thus, we’re talking here of MONEY that
should go around for a while to entertain voters, in
addition to bringing in beautiful people from show
business during rallies. We’re talking here NOT of
what candidates could do or have accomplished
during their incumbency, but what voters GET before
I hate this seemingly common strategy among
candidates who either are affluent already, or
planning to be affluent soon. And I hate the practice
that keeps poor people beholden to candidates who
promise more to come if elected. Poor people rely
on candidates who give them something to tide