Itâ€™s campaign season again in the Philippines. Senatorial and congressional candidates are gearing up for the big day in May this year. The Filipino people can expect more mudslinging among candidates and less talk about policies between now and Election Day. Those who still bother with what some say is a farce activity will be heading to the polls to vote for their â€œrepresentativesâ€ in government in a few months. Between now and then, bystanders will have to bear with the mind-numbing campaign jingles, which include subtle to blatant accusatory statements directed at political opponents.Voters donâ€™t really have much of a choice with regard to who to vote into vacant government seats every election. Candidates vying for positions in Congress include the usual suspects: has-been actors who arenâ€™t even qualified or donâ€™t even reside in the district they are running for; the sons, daughters, nephews, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, wives or husbands of congressmen and senators who are still sitting in Congress or who still hold positions in government.
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The same types of people coming from the same breed keep winning every election. One should already get the idea by now that most of the congressional bets wonâ€™t really represent the people when they get voted into office. This is true even when the candidateâ€™s last name is Aquino or even when he kinda looks like a clone of the late Ninoy Aquino. The candidates will more likely represent themselves and their familyâ€™s vested interests. Itâ€™s all about keeping things in the family like in any arranged marriage. Never mind if the situation is starting to look like inbreeding, a reproductive approach said to produce half-wits. If you find that hard to believe, try to ask senatorial candidate Bam Aquino what he would do if he received a â€œbonusâ€ from the Senate President once he becomes a senator.Itâ€™s bad enough that voters donâ€™t expect much from their representatives. Whatâ€™s worse is that even the judiciary is in on the national swindle, dismissing a bid to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to prohibit members of so-called political dynasties from running for national and local elective positions. The Supreme Court conveniently dismissed the petition without elaborating even when the law clearly stipulates â€œThe state shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.â€
Sadly, the members of the Supreme Court headed by the Presidentâ€™s school buddy, Chief Justice Sereno seemingly want to keep the status quo by allowing members of political clans to run the country to the ground. Thereâ€™s little surprise in why ordinary people without political backing and campaign funds who could be more qualified and who could have the peopleâ€™s best interest at heart have no chance at all of winning an election.Of course while the candidates are campaigning, the gullible voters wonâ€™t even notice they are being duped. This is because aside from the voters being star-struck ignoramuses, the candidates are good at using public funds to buy voters, excellent at sweet-talking the masses into eating off the palms of their hands, and are experts at coming up with the catchiest slogans like â€œSa UNA gaganda ang buhayâ€. Who can forget the slogan that won a former actor the Presidency? â€œErap para sa mahirapâ€ is still arguably the best one for sure. It has that last song syndrome effect among voters. This is evident in the fact that the former President and convicted plunderer, Joseph â€œErapâ€ Estrada almost won the Presidency again in the 2010 election. Itâ€™s very doubtful that â€œKung walang corrupt, walang mahirap can achieve the same result for the Liberal Party, not when there is still corruption in government and not when the number of poor people continues to rise.
Like in every Philippine election, the country goes into fiesta mode during the campaign period and every politician switches into â€œsip-sipâ€ gear in an effort to reach out to the electorate and hopefully catch their votes. Speaking of fiesta, President Benigno Simeon â€œBSâ€ Aquino was in Cebu recently to attend the Sinulog Festival together with his partyâ€™s senatorial candidates. While in Cebu, the President could not help himself again and took the opportunity to lambast his political opponents in a speech at the opening of the Austral Philippines Shipyard Operations – an event where bringing up political issues is considered inappropriate by most normal people. You can trust President BS Aquino to use a microphone to his full advantage whenever he gets a hold of one.
President BS Aquino did not seem amused that members of the United Nationalist Allianceâ€™s (UNA) political party are leading the campaign polls. In an effort to bring UNA down, he accused the party of being desperate enough to conduct early campaigning:
â€œKailangan nating unawain siguro â€™yung kabilang panig na mas marami silang kailangan pruwebahan kaysa sa amin,â€ said Aquino, who was in Cebu Wednesday for the opening of the Austral Philippines Shipyard Operations.
â€œThey have to catch up so they have to—hence, the need to have all of these sorties at this point in time,â€ he added.
He said that while urging the public to vote for the administrationâ€™s bets. Talk about being hypocritical. UNA secretary, Toby Tianco found it amusing that President BS Aquino â€œwould take issue with UNAâ€™s supposed early campaigning during a political event organized by the LP and attended by some of the LP coalition candidates whom he asked the public to support.â€
First, you just have to wonder why President BS Aquino keeps acting so unstatesmanlike. Heâ€™s the one who seems to appear desperate. If heâ€™s really confident about their partyâ€™s ability to fool the public, why does he feel the need to enter into a mudslinging contest? Isnâ€™t that kind of behavior unbecoming of a head of state? It most definitely is. Besides, he wouldnâ€™t feel nervous about his party membersâ€™ chances of winning a seat in congress had he and his party mates not been accused of grave abuse of power particularly with their habit of removing public servants from their post without the application of due process.
Second, when it comes to early campaigning, no one can beat the Liberal Party because they’ve always been on campaign mode even long after winning the 2010 election. And just to recall, the Liberal Party was accused of blatant early campaigning at the expense of flood victims when the President, his actress sister, Kris Aquino and Liberal Partyâ€™s senatorial and congressional candidates â€“ with most of them wearing the standard yellow shirts – boarded an open truck to â€œsurveyâ€ the flood damage caused by torrential rains in August 2012.
[Photo and preceding caption courtesy Showbiz Government.]
President BS Aquino is determined to undermine his political opponents rather than advocating unity. The fact that his Vice-President Jejomar Binay belongs to UNA doesnâ€™t stop him from putting the party down. He might as well say that he doesnâ€™t trust Binay at all. He seems to think that members of the Liberal Party are Godâ€™s gift to the Filipino people.
While UNA and LP are accusing each other of early campaigning, one thing has been proven: politicians in the Philippines are basically all the same. No matter what political party they belong to, they are more loyal to their party mates than the voters. The only way to stop the bozos from being voted into office is to ask them what they intend to do once in office. In other words, ask them about their platform. Their slogans will only mean something if they can state in detail how they can provide the people with â€œmagandang buhayâ€ or how they will actually achieve getting rid of corruption. Itâ€™s a simple task that hardly any voter bothers to ask their candidate. If a candidate cannot answer the question without vilifying his/her opponent, he doesnâ€™t deserve to be in public office.
In life, things are not always what they seem.