Sunday, February 21, 2010

Philippine Politicians

By Satur P. Apoyon

In the Philippines, politicians are pestered with all kinds of moochings or solicitations especially during election season.

The money-making assault is carried out either by individuals or groups, associations or religious congregations.

Only a few dozen among politicians in this former Spanish colony of four hundred years, especially those with party support and tossed by advocacy groups, who can withstand the onslaughts of fund-raisers that some have adopted as an industry.

The media industry is not spared in the madness of such a culture that has barnacled in the psyche of a large segment of the Filipino population up to these days.

Some scoundrels out to misappropriate the clout it brings to the community adopt a myriad of schemes.

One of their modus operandi is to organize an instant press association involving popular journalists in the roster of membership for media plan quota.

Sad to say, the scandalous operation oftentimes prosper due to gullibility or plain tolerance of some politicians or staff of a party media bureau.

In 1992, for example, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and fellow senatorial bet former Health Secretary Juan Flavier were among those molested by pseudo media persons for broadcast propaganda money, knocking their hotel rooms in this city even at bed time.

Other scalawags, competing with so-called barangay ward leaders bringing lists of their controlled voters for funding, would whip out newspaper advertising rate card that does not even exist.

The professional moochers also hound candidates with a string of hospital billings or prescriptions of medicines needing immediate cash allocation, too.

There are also genuine poorest of the poor who would beg from politicians to take care of the transport of the cadaver of kin or give them transportation money to go back to their place of origin from the big city to the province.

The Davao or Mindanao experience can also be prevalent elsewhere in many towns, cities and provinces in the country's archipelago of 7,100 islands.

It is a never-ending charitable obligation for a Pinoy politician to get elected or reelected especially in this time of financial scarcity hitting the majority of the country's burgeoning population now in the vicinity of 93 million.

But not in the United States of Uncle Sam.

According to my fan on Bisayan fiction and now intimate friend, Briccio, a native of Loay, Bohol who now lives in Vallejo, California, USA, it is the other way around there.

Briccio, 80 plus, said in his latest overseas call it is the electorate who are being taxed by American candidates from either the Republicans or Democrats.

He said voters in USA are asked which political party he belongs upon registration in a state electoral office.

As the election campaign starts, solicitation from either the Republicans or Democrats, Briccio said, is mailed to their "members" to give some contribution for the party expenses.

Big contributors are given presentable certificates of appreciation and sometimes given special attention by the victorious party.

In the case of my fan and fellow provinciano, he would only give a little and sometimes made excuses to skip his voluntary obligation being a small-time retiree.

Thus, the system seems to echo the philosophy of John F. Kennedy, one of the great presidents of New England, which summarizes this way: "Think of what you can dole out for a candidate rather than squeezing him or his party of a few dollars".

Briccio did not yet mention the corporate or millionaire's party contribution to the two leading political parties, one of which is that of Barack Obama, the incumbent and first African-American president ever elected since l776.

With our culture as certified blue-blooded everlasting blessed receiver of gifts in cash or in kind such Americanism will ever or will never come to pass yet in our time.

Therefore, Pinoy politicians take cover from pests out to take away a part of your campaign fund or to say the least your pocket money in the sortie trail. (PNA)