The Pols Falls
Who do I choose? That name sounds good. That name sounds familiar. Maybe that candidate’s related to a person I know who lives around here. Okay, let’s choose some more. That name sounds like he would be a good kagawad. Oh, this is silly. I knew I should have gotten out more so I know the people in the community. I shouldn’t have been playing this guessing game. Maybe, I should have asked around. But, I didn’t have time for that. Besides, who should have I asked? How should have I done it had I decided to do it? Should have I stood by some sari-sari store and aske the bystanders who the good candidates were. Someone told me that I risk voting for candidates who do not deserve to be voted. Yeah, I know. I know some people who did not vote altogether. I don’t really know why. Maybe, they’re just too lazy to get out. After all, it was a holiday. Maybe, it was their intentional choice not to vote. Maybe, they felt that there was no good choice between the two competing candidates for punong barangay. I still voted. I would not want to risk my name getting deactivated again. They say, it takes not voting for two elections to get deactivated. I missed one and got deactivated. I would not want to go through it again. It was so difficult to squeeze it in a busy work schedule. So, I’ll settle with this. Let’s just hope that if these people whom I voted for get elected that they be good public servants that they should be.
Aren’t these guys neighbors? Why all these trouble? Why does the barangay covered court get locked before the other party could get their turn to say their speeches in their meeting de avance? Surely, that was no accident. Why doesn’t the court get locked on regular days when players from different zones come to play basketball? There’s obviously not so good intent there. Who’s got the key? Put out the key!
Now, here’s some good news. Here’s a ticket and another one which is supposed to be a loyalty card. Those are from a candidate. He may win or lose, but you have to show up at his house showing that card and you’ll be getting 5 kilos of rice. Now, that’s not bad. I say it again. He doesn’t have to win. He may lose. You can still claim the rice. Write your name on the ticket. Don’t let your brother or cousin claim the rice. You whose name is on the ticket have to be the one who gets the rice, not anyone else. Now, go on and tell your Papa and Mama and Kuya and Ate to get theirs too. If they all get tickets, that’s 25 kilos of rice for all of you. Not bad.
They say, the candidate isn’t really the one giving the rice. It’s from a personality who’s planning to run for Congress. Wait, I know that name. Isn’t he a cousin of a prominent political clan? Oh, he really has his eyes set on running for Congress then. Oh, that loyalty card, you better keep that. They say, you could get special favors if you present that on a later date. We’re not really sure. They say, you could get scholarship grants or maybe, medicine. We’re not really sure. Just keep it and don’t lose it. Hey aren’t you with the other candidate? Why do you have a ticket? Oh yes, the rice is still some blessing.
I heard that in one barangay, the son of a wealthy personality who keeps running and keeps losing, is himself running. I hear, he’s popular with the voters. I hear, he’ll make it. I smell plans of getting through to City Hall through the barangay.
I hear that in one barangay, the strong incumbent punong barangay is one who is a staunch opponent of the mayor. So, what does Yorme do? He grooms a simple resident of the barangay and backs him up with support to go against that punong barangay who apparently irks him so much.
I was walking along the sidewalks near a popular store that sells cheap goods, with the pavement line up with vendors of dried fish and vegetables. Then, someone yells for some other person not to forget to get more than a thousand pesos for a vote for the punong barangay. She goes on some other amount for the kaawads. How blatant. She just yells that on a busy street for everyone to hear. For some consolation, those are tame compared to the fist fights and firefights in other parts of the country.
I guess, that’s how it is. No matter how we educate voters and candidates, they would be thrilled with present, temporary and relatively minor benefits, and ignore the grander policies and projects of public service that politicians can potentially deliver and should deliver. I guess, that’s the way it is.
Ecclesiastes 7:8: “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.”