There is somewhat a sad air as we wait for the barangay election results. Today is election day for the barangay, choosing a barangay captain and seven (7) councilors. The reason for the melancholic atmosphere is the observed neck to neck fight between the two (2) candidates for barangay captain. As a family that belongs to the group of people who desire change, and a strong, if not total, response against corruption, it will be sad news indeed if our bet will loose.
Patronage still rules, I guess, if the result did not do us favor. People always forget, too, that those people did not deliver the service they ought to have given during those (more than) two decades in the seat. As Barbara Streisand’s song goes, “What’s too painful to remember, we simple choose to forget.” True, perhaps what is happening is that the pain of betrayal caused by corruption of those people are too difficult to accept and bear that these people will just choose to support and cling to the hope that these people will do better. Or are Filipinos just plain stupid? If this happens in a small unit like the barangay, what hope is left for the whole country?
It pains me to hear the many stories of corruption and yet there is a great possibility that they will be again seated and do what they do best.
Talking with Papsie’s boozed up friends last night, one of the topics was about the coming barangay elections. Listening, I learned that there was a candidate who sounded sensible because of his proposal to keep the hush-hush earnings for projects. He did not win. Why? Simple, the greater part of the majority does not desire losing the hush-hush earnings in their pockets.
I was probably naive to think that there is truly a noble cause why these candidates run. I thought that at least there is a number that truly cares for the constituents’ welfare and the barangay’s improvement. I learned that those candidates who had been on the run for many years are truly running for a cause – to fill their pockets with hush-hush earnings, or to become rich because of ill gotten money.
The barangay electoral system in the Philippines had been marred with greed, corruption, and chaos, for a long time. Still, I have this wishful thinking that this will change in the future though I know it is just as near to impossible. Some are ready to kill for a position, or to covet the position even in the most bloody way. Some cling to the position even though their constituents had been denouncing them for long.
The anatomy of barangay elections in the Philippines stems from its culture of being clannish or family-oriented. It may sound like it is a positive attribute but it is with this essence that unqualified or incompetent people are elected to a position. It is not about a candidate’s capacity to govern, or serve, it is about how much money they use to buy a vote, it is about how much percentage of the clan a candidate will win over, or it is about their ability to thwart the truth and the lies therein, or to coerce their constituents to vote for them.
But it also stems from the constituents’ unwillingness to change. They vote for the same incompetent person because of the personal favors they will be getting in the future. They sell their votes for a need but are not worried how much the act would cause them in the future. They are negligent and uncaring that they do not take courage making their voice when these evil politicians openly cheat. They tolerate the misdeed because they foresee the monetary gains they will have by agreeing to the evil deeds, or being silent about an obvious cheating.