There is no better time to find out the true character of people than before a national election. Not only do we find out who among us are passionate or indifferent about the state of the nation, we also find out how far some people would go for their advocacies or for their politics. Take the members of the Philippine Opposition, for example. Whether they are already in power or still vying for power, their greed is in full public display every time there is an up and coming election. They don’t even hide their desperation to be in control. To be specific, I’m talking about the members of the Liberal Party and their allies. It’s not like they are concerned about the public or the future of the country, they are simply after control over the National Budget. Their rabid supporters are something else too. They don’t have any qualms about breaking the law just to help their candidates win.
A government position is very lucrative in the Philippines. It’s big business. In the Philippines, particularly during the term of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, once you are in public office with a budget to dispense, you can hire whoever you want, even your own relatives to “deliver” the goods or the services. That’s not supposed to be the case, but even the so-called auditors seem to be turning a blind eye to this traditional and illegal practice. How many times have we seen audit reports, years later, claiming that a former classmate or a relative of this or that cabinet official, congressman, mayor or councilor was hired to do a job? Countless of times. Mind you, some of them were hired without going through proper procedure.
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Even when the audit shows an anomaly in transactions years after a supposed “project” was done, no one seems to get prosecuted or jailed. It is not surprising that the infrastructure in the country is still not at par with that in the First World. This is something that has baffled me for so long. The public doesn’t seem to care. Or they could be too busy living their normal hectic lives to notice that their public servants are laughing all the way to the bank with public funds. The public’s apathy or lack of concern is disturbing. The problem here is that a lot members of the public think public servants are there to give them money. This is precisely the reason why a lot of people ask for money from public servants for all kinds of reasons like an illness or a funeral. But I digress…
Going back to greedy politicians, the members of the Liberal Party are all about greed. With the exception of the new players like Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay and Gary Alejano, most of them are from the elite members of Philippine society. They come from a small clique of wealthy politicians whose families have been in power for decades. Politics is like a game of musical chairs to them. Whoever is in power among them would help others get into business with them to secure government deals and everyone gets a share of the kickbacks.
You can say that most politicians in the Philippines behave the same way and you would be right. But why would you vote for members of the Liberal Party knowing that, aside from mismanaging public funds, they also deliver dodgy work. It’s bad enough that they don’t deliver the goods, the taxes just go to waste. Just look at how badly they managed the operation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) as an example of their appalling track record. And how about the rehabilitation of Tacloban after it was hit by the devastating super typhoon Yolanda? That was a disgrace. The food donations had to be buried because, instead of distributing the goods to the typhoon victims, the government just let these rot in the warehouse. Some say it was because the delay of distribution was due to politics. If you are not a Liberal Party supporter, you won’t get any food relief. It doesn’t matter if you were starving.
There is no escaping the fact that the Liberal Party doomed itself. The Opposition candidates don’t even want to identify themselves as members of the party and its colour anymore even though their policy – the policy of negative propaganda has yellow written all over it. Yes, destroying the reputation of their enemies is all they are good at. Currently, they seek to destroy President Rodrigo Duterte, his family and allies just to get the votes. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t been succeeding. The reason why the members of the Opposition always fail in their attempts to bring Duterte down is they keep trying to use negative propaganda on someone who enjoys a high trust rating. They can’t accept that the President is very popular. The people are also tired of their modus operandi.
Their latest attempt simply backfired because they used an ex-convict to speak against Duterte. A few days before the mid-term elections, a self-confessed creator of the Bikoy videos – videos that contain accusations against the Duterte family – surfaced and conducted a press conference inside the integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). The high-ranking officials of the IBP – the “esteemed” lawyers – denied prior knowledge of Bikoy’s plan to hold a press conference in their premises, but the people aren’t that dumb to believe they had nothing to do with it.
It’s either they gave Peter Joemel Advincula access to a platform to publicize his tall tales against the Duterte family or Advincula used some sort of Jedi Mind Trick to do his deed. Either way, the IBP officials are facing backlash and possible disbarment. After all that, the public didn’t believe Advincula anyway. Only the Yellows believed him, but only for a few hours though until the truth came out that the con artist and convicted scammer already tried selling his wares to Senator Tito Sotto a few years ago, before Duterte came to power. Back then, Advincula was implicating BS Aquino and his allies as drug lords. It all went pear-shaped in just a few hours.
While the Bikoy saga is laughable, it is proof that poverty is not the main problem in the Philippines. The main problem is the padrino system or patronage politics. It’s obvious that powerful people like members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines are in cahoots with members of the Opposition in promoting chaos in the country. No wonder the country remains a basketcase.
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