Monday, September 01, 2014

Part 2: Intelligent Voters vs Bobotantes?

Courting the Poor

The “poor” voting population is the reason why ALMOST ALL politicians always want to project themselves as pro-poor, from the poor, or simply poor to court the votes of these “poor” voters.  Ironically, they do this mostly through the expensive song and dance route where they use highly paid popular actors and actresses in the campaign trail.  In this sector, it is believed that name recall is the most important thing—over, above, and beyond the platforms (what are platforms anyway in Philippine politics?)

ERAP is the most successful guy in this aspect.  He was able to convince (read: fool) people that he had been poor in real life like many of his on-screen persona, despite the fact that his parents are addressed as “Don” and “Doña.”  He was able to thoroughly convince the masses that in real life, he is one of them by eating bare handed, despite the fact that in real life outside the glare of the cameras, he is a connoisseur especially of wine and women.  He was able to convince the masses that he is doing something to improve their plight, despite the fact that in his over extended term as mayor, San Juan is among the last towns in Metro Manila to turn into a city and in his short-lived presidency, among the major priorities he made was turn illegal gambling, arguably the waterloo of the poor, into an almost legal industry.

Other politicians tried to court these “poor” voters with varying success.  Manny Villar, in his run for the presidency in 2010, attempted to project himself as a poor boy from Tondo who succeeded because of Sipag at Tyaga.  He miserably failed to convince the people and was exposed to have never been poor.  Mar Roxas tried to project himself as Mr. Palengke and even drove a pedicab to show that he knows the hardwork of the poor.  He was an even bigger failure than Villar as people just cannot seem to detach him from the fact that his palengke is one of the biggest shopping complexes in the country. 

But many other politicians and their supporters from the upper classes simply use their primary resource advantage to influence the voting decisions of the poor:  money.  Including the blatantly illegal vote-buying, politicians and their supporters wallowing in money just use this resource to ram their way in the elections.  Starting at the registration stage, moneyed politicians haul (read: hakot) the poor from their miserable living areas for a day and transport them to the registration centers complete with merienda and gift packs upon their return.  For the 2013 elections, I have personally witnessed how a Badjao community was hauled and made to register in a mountain barangay because the barangay captain of that mountain barangay is an ally of the coastal barangay captain and the former need the boost of the new registrants to stem the assault of his political nemesis. 

It is because of this phenomenon that a politician I know, in his private unguarded moment, once called the election season as "the time for the redistribution of wealth.It is during the election time that people receives money from their candidates, who once elected, immediately takes it back through their shenanigans.

Can people now blame Binay, if in the long term planning of his political career, he included the fattening of his financial arsenal?  Is there any politician who did not do this?

You need money—lots of it—to court the poor…


  1. The politicians do not want to alleviate the poor because if they do, then they would lose their voters. This is a sad reality and I don't see a lot of changes in my lifetime.

    But even if I'm only one vote, I will continue to cast it. Sayang naman kung pinapanalo ko nalang ang mga walang kwentang politiko ng walang laban.


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