ON behalf of co-workers in the media, I wish to thank Messrs. Fernando S. Tiong and Roland “Chongloy” Wong for the assistance they provided us especially during these times of a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Words are not enough to describe how truly grateful we are for the kindness of these two businessmen. They are such wonderful gentlemen who live by the words of Englishman Theologian John Wesley (1703-1791) who said:
“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.”
Our deepest sympathies to the family of Pico, La Trinidad Punong Barangay Ramon K. Salda who joined the Almighty last Tuesday afternoon (August 24, 2021). I will miss his quietness and humility but will remember his smile, and treasure the short moments with him.
We were also stunned a little upon being told that news reporter and media colleague Ernie Olson left us with no goodbyes for a brighter pressroom in the sky last Wednesday afternoon (August 25, 2021). We extend our sincere condolences to his family and may Ernie rest peacefully beside his Creator.
In the last two weeks of September this year, politicians who plan to file their certificates of candidacies (COC) in Comelec offices will feel the “crunch” set upon them. By that time, their political line-up for President down to the last councilor shall have been known unless one is running independently.
After the filing of COCs has closed on the last hour of October 8, they will be preparing their political machines consisting of election campaign advisers, leaders, coordinators, financiers, and of course, “vote brokers” who help distribute cash to “buy” voters.
In distributing the cash, vote brokers pay first the voters they usually knew as strong supporters. Undecided voters are convinced to vote for a candidate in exchange for favors, then even supporters of other candidates are offered cash. All is fair during elections.
Meanwhile, political party affiliations in both local and national elections are only for convenience. Contrary to what national candidates wish to portray to the electorate, political parties are not as strong as those in other countries.
Election campaigns in the countryside are organized with strategy and opportunism by local politicians related or linked to prominent families. At the end of the day, who gets elected to win is the person regardless of party affiliation.
The truth on the ground is that there is no such thing as national political machinery, only local machinery. This is so because election campaigns involve local machinery composed of hundreds of coordinators, brokers, and leaders organized by local politicians.
For national candidates, the political platform which is usually “pro-poor, anti-corruption, socio-economic reforms, land for the poor, etc.. etc” is supposedly the political machinery itself. But these are not the immediate needs of the voter on the ground.
Not even a national bet’s charisma or shaking hands with people in the market can surely win a vote. That is why during elections, national candidates including the senatorial form alliances with the local candidates who mobilize their machinery.
But even political alliances are not so necessary for local campaigners who care more for their local candidates. In most campaigns; leaders, coordinators, and their brokers are told to focus on the local bets. That is why congressional and provincial bets see to it that they join the rallies organized by the local candidates.
Of course, money makes these local machines run, the funds usually coming from contributions from the congressional, gubernatorial, and mayoral bets. The usual arrangement is for the congressional candidate or the political party to pay for the food and allowance of all the poll watchers.
The gubernatorial bet pays for rally permits, sound system, and logistics while the mayoral and local bets take charge of invitations and schedules. Everybody contributes to pay people walking from house to house to distribute campaign flyers, food, and fuel and buy votes which get a bigger bulk of the expenses.
The money for buying votes comes in two waves – in the first and last week of the campaign. Although, most campaign leaders in the local political machine set their own schedule in distributing the cash usually in the days before the election.
By the way, very few presidential candidates contribute money to their local party mates. If ever, the money is used to pay for the printing of campaign flyers and stickers that carry the party line-up from the president down to the last bet.
But while there are only a handful of political ideologies in local politics or none at all, depending on the character of local politicians, the power to choose who wins the elections resides in the voters, not the politicians.