"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Bobotanteng (Voting) Pinoy & the Unrealized Power of the Ballot

.... continued from Political Dynasty and the Pinoy Bobotante - Part 2 of 2

One cannot help but think that unless we lift up the people out of poverty there is really nothing we can do about our pathetic patronage and personality based electoral system and the thieving if not plundering political dynasty that goes with it as a bonus. That really makes sense but this is what one unnamed lawmaker says about the people wallowing in poverty:

"You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary"

I believe this is where the good and the bad political dynasty get into the picture even if it is only digitally, LOL. I say to Alan Peter Cayetano and the rest who consider themselves honest, why not give up your day job as members of your respective political family dynasty and use your talents in creating jobs to address poverty? After all aside from political power that is concentrated in your family you also accumulated so much wealth that makes your family to be in a position to spur economic growth for the common good. Hey, I don’t think you can expect us to come up with the major capitalization when you people control 80% of the nation’s wealth? After all profitable business enterprise did not just become successful out of luck but it took skilled managerial skills and leadership for them to reach the top. So if members of political dynasty believe in themselves that they have what it takes to be a leader and honest enough perhaps they can even change the predatory mindset prevailing in the business sector in the Philippines.

Do we blame us the Bobotantes (voters) for the worsening state of politics or do we blame the political dynasty? How about blaming both or better yet how about we stop trying to point a blaming finger and instead start doing something to fix the problem? Surely lamenting and ranting fighting among each other on who can be angriest the most will not solve the problem. So is going in a different direction without learning how to coalesce makes the powers that be happy in seeing us self-destruct without them lifting a finger. Do we have what it takes to dismantle political dynasties that lorded over their area like a feudal turf with some that are murderous warlords like Ruben Ecleo surrounded by their private armies?

When the people deposed the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos we failed to consider the risk of local warlords creeping in. In effect while we got rid of a dictator we unwittingly replaced it with local warlords and political clans just got bolder at building up their dynasties when we failed to hold them accountable and responsible for their continued disrespect and violation of the constitution. Instead of dealing with centralized plunder from the very top we have little Marcoses running like wild animals marking their territories for looting and plunder and as if that was not bad enough they became so agile at deflecting the issues and became very good at using the democratic space we earned to their advantage. While the ruling elites were so successful at protecting their so called basic rights such as the right to privacy of not allowing anyone, entity, or even police agency from accessing their dollar accounts, there are people whose rights are trampled with forced disappearance most of whom never to be found or if found are already lifeless.

Perhaps we are not ready for the democratic space that we earned thus we still have people to this day missing the “good old days” of the dictatorship, talk about not getting enough masochist pleasure, LOL. Now I understand why man’s history is replete with cruelty like the one during Pol Pot’s genocidal rampage sending people to his reeducation camp. Don’t get me wrong, I abhor what pol Pot did but sometimes it makes me wonder had the Cory Aquino administration went on a reeducation program right after EDSA revolution, could we have a better appreciation of the democratic space and the leveling of the political playing field as intended and embodied in our constitution? 

History is written by the victors according to Winston Churchill; unfortunately no one seem to have taken the responsibility of writing the course of our history especially the part before EDSA and what precipitated it. Is it because those who are supposed to have done so are busy trying to build their own political dynasty or too busy savoring the moment while continuously dancing on the streets celebrating their victory? They did not even bother teach our children the misdeeds of the Marcoses and the evils of Martial Law that we now have people left and right sneaking in with their revisionist historical version of telling a story telling a lie. People especially the young ones and the Philippines being one in the region with a young population are now open season for the revisionist and the corrupt elites in molding a mindset that is so muddled. I am one who believes that man by nature is good. In the end what is just and fair will triumph but it will not happen until we the Bobotante take the lead and change the course of history by dismantling political dynasty. Make no mistake about it EDSA is an unfinished revolution and the so-called EDSA II is nothing but a scam wrought on the gullible people.

In 2002 we pay each congress representatives P65M in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) yearly or better known as Pork Barrel, P420K salary/year, P2.4M in published expense, P600K to P1.2M/year allowance plus Christmas gift of P100K to P150K from the Speaker of the House, occasional Christmas gift from Malacanang of P100K to P150K, and other perks such as emergency fund, attending sessions, voting for bills, and travel allowances. That is just a 10 year old figure involving one congressman/woman which may have gone higher so imagine how much the taxpayers has to shoulder to maintain 287 House Members?

The cost to maintain 24 senator is P19.854 + to 19.877 + BILLION per year and if you add the yearly expense to maintain the Lower House, it will be a staggering amount. The upkeep of legislators has risen 10% every year since 1994. In 1999 this leaped to as high as a 60 % increase in the house of congress and a whopping 72% for the senators compared to the previous years. Now think of how much government revenue was exhausted all these years that they failed to pass an enabling law that is required of them by the constitution. A total of 27 years of maintaining the legislative branch and they have nothing to show for it except seeing the worsening endemic corruption and growing strength of political dynasties so entrenched  in power while dividing the country into their own personal territory to loot and plunder.

If we hire a professional, it is because we rely on their professional skills and expertise thus in return for what we pay them we expect to get good service. After all they earn their keeps by providing us the best skilled professional service, so why do we keep on hiring legislators who fails time and again to level the political playing field and stop if not exert extra effort in curbing corruption? Did we hire them so they can rob us blind?

No one will help us but ourselves if we want to finish or bring the unfinished EDSA revolution to its final course, we just have to take the initiative and not rely on the trapos. Sadly, change will not come from political personalities who are themselves members of political dynasty. Election comes every three years and the only time where politicians need us more than we need them is when they need our votes. We can only realize the power of the ballot if we use it at this point by focusing on having an enabling law passed on the legal definition of political dynasty. We can never expect our politicians to be honest if we allow them to openly violate the constitution and until we force the issue and tell them we don’t approve of it we will never see any improvement.

How do we go about going against a very powerful formidable opponent?

As far as we the BOBOtante (voters) are concerned it is up to us to prove them otherwise and pledge to support and vote only candidates in congress and senate willing and able to commit to pass enabling law defining political dynasty. We either remain BOBOtante or empowered electorates that can launch a massive campaign. How to go about it without funding is a challenge but it can be done with the power of networking. If we start with ourselves signing a pledge to commit to vote only candidates to congress and senate who will themselves pledge to commit to pass an enabling law defining political dynasty regardless of whether they belong to any political party or not is the first step. Next step is to persuade just three fellow registered voter to sign and commit to the same pledge we signed, and for the three to do the same each of them persuading just three registered voters and their recruits to do the same routine and so on, in due time we might reach most if not all of the registered voters before they cast their ballots in the 2013 election. Our success will depend on how many will follow through and not break the cycle. How can they break the cycle if they want an end to political dynasty and the possibility of leaders emerging having the same integrity and having political skills like Jesse Robredo? There is definitely power in numbers and voting as one only those willing and able candidates who will commit to pass an enabling law is just the start. What say you people, are we the BOBOtante type or the empowered botante who will change the course of history for the better?

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