Politics: Show me the money

This oft-repeated line was heard at virtually all poll precincts on May 14 as Filipinos once again participated in the futile exercise of suffrage.

For the love of money, gosh! People didn’t mind the politicos and their platforms. They didn’t mind the goons standing around the politicos. They also didn’t mind the constant reminder from media, concerned groups, and washed-up politicians about voting wisely—whoever wisely is. No, they didn’t mind at all.

All the people cared about during this recent exercise was how much and when they were getting paid. To top this off, those who received the most amount of cash, presumably individuals who had so much influence that they could sway the vote whichever way they deemed, didn’t spread the money, didn’t let it trickle down to the masses. Indeed, corruption breeds more corruption.

Okay, admittedly, the folks nowadays have learned a bit or two about hoodwinking politicians who are all too eager to part with their ill-gotten cash. But the act itself, of accepting cash purportedly in exchange for a vote, whether consumed or not, is wrong. What good is the cash you get from unscrupulous politicians now when compared to the millions they get for themselves while in office? Wouldn’t you rather have a continuous stream of funds from well-meaning public servants for projects that will benefit the majority of the people?

A story from the Philippine Daily Inquirer best illustrates the Filipinos mentality of living for the day during elections. Here’s an excerpt.

CEBU CITY—Some voters in Tacloban City spent Tuesday, the day after the elections, spending the money they got from candidates who bought their votes. But the situation remained tense among candidates and their supporters as the canvassing of votes continued in many areas in the Visayas.

Supermarkets in Tacloban City on Tuesday reaped the benefits of the massive vote buying by candidates of different parties when shoppers went into a buying frenzy.

The residents here flocked to supermarkets and groceries, paying for the goods with crisp 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20 peso bills.

Celso, a resident of this city, immediately bought two pairs of blue jeans as he got P2,000 from the candidates he voted for on Monday.

“I only went to my assigned precinct when it was about 3 p.m. as I know I will be receiving a bigger amount than if I went there early,” he told the Inquirer.

Another voter, a jeepney driver, immediately bought P1,000 worth of grocery items after the paymaster of the candidate he voted for gave him the amount. “This is for our three days consumption,” he said in Waray.

Is this the legacy that we want to leave our children?

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