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EDITORIAL: Poll bets as plunderers

MANY law-abiding citizens find it really incomprehensible that the administration senatorial line-up should include infamous political personalities who have been indicted with plunder, not to mention their mediocre past performance as legislators. Former senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, and Juan Ponce Enrile, whose shirts on their backs still reek of the smell of a prison cell, are scot-free despite the plunder cases filed against them. Unbarred, it took them no time to file their respective certificate of candidacy October last year with the administration slate welcoming them. Their entry into the Duterte slate has in fact swelled the administration ticket to 13, one candidate in excess of the 12-ticket slot for the senatorial race. To remind voters, especially the die-hard Duterte fans, electing 13 senators on the ballot will shudder in bemusement the otherwise heartless automatic voting machine and render such ballot invalid. When asked why there are 13 candidates for the 12-man ticket under Hugpong Pagbabago, party chair Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is also the mayor of Davao City, said there were just too many who wanted to be included in the ticket and she leaves it to the people to decide which 12 candidates they will vote. That would mean even for Sara herself to drop at least one of their “official candidates” when filling up her ballot for senators on May 13. Her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, however, beat her to the draw by eventually excluding Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla from his preferred senatorial candidates. That leaves the wise, smart and ancient Johnny Enrile safely ensconced in the administration ticket as far as President Duterte himself is concerned. As had been said, the trio of Jinggoy, Bong Revilla, and Enrile in the administration slate, despite the corruption charges filed against them, comes like angels as far as Sara Dutere fans and supporters are concerned. In fact, these “angels” are overcrowding the ticket, and according to Sara it will be for the people to decide which 12 candidates they will vote for, and, when voting “straight” who among the 13 will be dropped in the ballot, as if that’s a very difficult problem to solve. Bu indeed, the issue should not be how to put the square pegs in the round holes, but simply why people with corruption charges, as serious and unforgivable as plunder, should be overcrowding a senatorial line-up of an administration that “cries” for change and honesty in government? And why, of all people, one should elect an indicted Ramon Revilla who, after being freed from jail on condition that he returns the millions of pesos in pork money that his office had allegedly stolen, refused to honor the court’s bidding? It may not be said that corruption is a key social and political issue for governments, regardless of whether there is election or not. Grafters and corruptors, whose names we can find in the roster of this year’s candidates, siphon off precious resources for development and social services, spawning mal-development, poverty and injustice. We should not forget that one of the major reasons why Duterte was elected president was his populist campaign against government corruption. And now the people feel they have been shortchanged. Many feel that the world has turned upside down because the people who should be in detention are now being called upon to act as jail wardens with the people locked inside because of injustice, impunity and cases of repression that are obtaining under this administration.

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