You gotta love free enterprise. Filipinos will steal and sell anything that isn’t bolted to the floor. So no surprise in these recent reports following the latest barangay elections. Votes are certainly not the heaviest of objects to make off with. And there are lots of buyers.
Why do Filipinos sell their votes?
There’s really no need to over-intellectualise the answer to that question. The answer is quite simple: Filipinos don’t see themselves as having much of a stake in their votes. They have no use for a wise vote. But they do find value in a sold vote. Think about it. Di nakakakain ang “wise” vote. Why worry about voting wisely when your immediate concern is where the money to pay for your next meal — or your next celphone load — is coming from?
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Indeed, why should Filipinos care? Politicians steal them blind from right under their noses. These are politicians who are products of the Filipino Vote. Perhaps the thinking of the average voter is that since they will be stolen from anyway, might as well make them pay up front for the privilege of being voted into office. If you stop to think about it, the equation balances out. Filipino voters make their candidates pay for their vote, then the candidates recoup their “investment” once they’re in office. This has been a well-known age-old covenant between Filipino voters and politicians. This is really not news.
Consider too how much tax (if any) many of these enterprising voters pay to begin with. Vote buying is really a win-win situation for many Filipino voters. They make the odd-thousand pesos every election day and don’t really have much invested in whatever the politicians they elect steal from the public coffers.
Big taxpayers are the real victims here. The average Filipino vote-seller does not pay enough tax to really care how much of it politicians steal. But big taxpayers like you and me do care. Trouble is, we don’t get much of a say around who gets to “lead” us in Malacanang and “represent” us in Congress. Because we chose to be a “democracy”, we’ve effectively handed over this important selection mechanism to the million-odd starstruck ignoramuses and their idiotic notions of who should be leading and representing them.
There’s nothing fun about paying tax to a government composed of people voted into office by idiots. But that’s pretty much the Philippines for you. Southeast Asia’s most “vibrant” “democracy”. It’s no wonder that former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had this to say about Philippine “democracy”…
When people think only of the freedoms of democracy and know nothing of the implied responsibilities, democracy will not bring the goodness that it promises. Instead it will result only in instability and instability will not permit development to take place and the people to enjoy the benefits of freedom and the rights that democracy promises.
Elder Singapore statessman Lee Kuan Yew called ours “a soft forgiving culture”…
Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics. They supported the winning presidential and congressional candidates with their considerable resources and reappeared in the political and social limelight after the 1998 election that returned President Joseph Estrada. General Fabian Ver, Marcos’s commander-in-chief who had been in charge of security when Aquino was assassinated, had fled the Philippines together with Marcos in 1986. When he died in Bangkok, the Estrada government gave the general military honors at his burial.
I beg to differ slightly. It’s really not that Filipinos are a forgiving lot. Filipinos are just forgetful and apply a lazy and sloppy approach to thinking. When not enough thinking prevails in a democratic nation’s politics, you get idiotic results. Leadership in administration and representation in legislation in a democratic nation merely reflects the quality of the Vote.
That’s about as simple as the science gets when trying to understand why the Philippines continues to fail as a nation.
[Photo courtesy Demotix.com.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.