Quid Pro Quo (something for something) Democracy

( 0r Buy and Sell Election))

The Right to vote is not given to a mentally ill and accused criminal , therefore this right is a positive attest to your health and legal status. There is a political issue and you have to decide.The nature of your decision shows where you stand with your principle. If you cast your vote  freely , i.e., without depending on anything or anybody, conscientiously studied the issues involved and with common good in mind, then you stand on democratic principles. But to cast your vote  in exchange of anything is to devalue your rights and downgrade the already downgraded society. You relinquish wittingly your positive qualities we mentioned above. And that is what makes you really an enemy of a that sector of the society that is clamoring for change and progress. On the other side, a politician who directly buys  electoral votes is a no lesser crook than the one selling. For by buying, he is already acknowledging to himself and to others that he will plunder the public funds once he would win. Hence, to sell vote is like selling your future for you voted a thief to rule over your town. And to buy vote is already building your future adinistration/government upon a foundation of moral corruption- of yourself and of the people.

Many were bought by Marcos and Imelda at that time and they did nothing afterwards but plundered the nation.Too many also suffered, disappeared or got killed. Yes, at the early stage of his rule, the economy improved but still it was not a proof that dictatorship of such type is the answer for the right form of leadership for the Philippines. This economic boom was short-lived because the political structure was based on greed, not on foresight. And so it has produced greedy politicians, businessmen  and military officers, divided the Filipinos, hate and revenge were everywhere. Can a nation grow under these circumstances? On a personal level this could have led to divorce, patricide or extended suicide. In short, broken home. Marcos broke the nation, and not getting enough, he transferred the kaban ng bayan and gold deposits ( greater than the total gold reserves of Gross Britain!) to Switzerland  and in other foreign banks to secure his survival. I mean you can be a super-visionary politician- as some people considered Marcos to be,- build expressways and airports. Those were nothing for as we have said, progressive thinking is not based on such infrastructures alone but in upgrading the nation’s democratic consciousness and building  a political “infrastructure”  where patriotism is allowed to grow and where the next generation of leaders would willingly work with one another for the progress of the nation. Marcos himself was a product of a faulty Philippine political landscape and during his tenure he damaged this landscape even more. We all know the rest of the story. These lost money and golds were not recovered and  made other countries even more richer. Is that being visionary? For his survival and for foreign bankers maybe, but not for the survival and  progress of our nation.

What is left with a person without a moral principle but a primitive natural man whose behavior is guided by the dictates of lowly desires alone than by nurtured and cultured reason. You could have all the benefits of materialism but that doesn’t make you a better person. I have a friend who told me once about a person that in order to find him, one would  just need to  go to the known corrupt politicians in his province for he is known to have this ambition of becoming a rich man- and so he clings like a dog to such politicians. This man was once  an outspoken UP “Down With Imperialism!” activist before, fighting for a cause. Knowing this, you feel like throwing out.Yes, you just cannot stomach somebody who is a fake. This kind of person begs on his knees.The lack of genuine moral principle is the decline of everything. A society without it has no future. The same way with a government. It is nothing but an institutionalized robbery, a kleptocracy. Picture yourself a society populated with people begging on their knees. Shameful, isn’t it? For this UP activist what matters most at the moment is his food on the table, his full stomach and his brand new car he got as a present for wagging his tail for all his corrupt friends. On the other hand, can you stomach an image of a vicious and corrupt politician and government official  who lives comfortably from the  blood, sweat and tears of others? Social Darwinism is  true just up to a certain point and it ends there where moral instinct begins to manifest itself and says “mister, don’t forget I’m also a part of yourself”.To protect the weak is a universal  human moral instinct, an instinct that is unfortunately often suppressed by greedy public officials.

When you claim to  feed the poor children with a banner behind that says “Nutrition Program by the Municipal Mayor” then you are just making a fool out of this poor people. For obviously you’re using their empty stomach to prepare for your second term on the next election. When you call out loud on your constituents as your “manga padaba” (my dearest ones), you’re actually  indirectly buying their votes- and cheating them when by the same token you refuse to tell the truth about your expenses. The Kaban Ng Bayan normally belongs to the people- but not to you and your own family. So don’t empty it. This is a fact that stands in any democratic political primer.

If a mayor engages in such  a costly project that only empties the public treasury ( limasin ang  kaban ng bayan) to the point that there is no more left for other basic services then this mayor is an irresponsible one, much like a mother who spends more for her dress and beauty kits leaving her children malnourished. Or a father whose drinking spree with his friends after work sends him  home with nothing left for his family that waits for him- examples we all know.These are small examples that illustrate the effect when vice rules over duty and principle. We may recall the notorious extravagance of Imelda Marcos that went around the globe. When  extravagance combines with greed for power then you have all the ingredients you need to bake a kleptocratic government. And so it was with Ferdinand and Imelda. They baked a huge cake that did not nourish their children but left them hungry. 

Back to vote buying or selling. In itself, it is like any normal trading or a market exchange a quid pro qou something for something,  but a trading that is illicit or a market that is a black market. It is until now considered as illegal in any civilized country. Vote buying takes place in may forms like direct monetary rewards or indirectly in form of goodies and favors. For us Filipinos maybe it’s the only way you could have a share of the stolen government revenues. Indeed, as some authors have noted, there is really no guarantee of the seller’s compliance, which means that you can get the money and  vote for another candidate, instead of him, or not cast a vote at all after receiving the financial remuneration. And it’s hard for the buyers to monitor this market. But In some places they let the seller go to the polling station with a cellular -phone camera, picture his filled up ballot and send the photo to the buyer’s monitoring station as a proof of compliance. There are many informal ways to control or to monitor seller’s compliance or not-compliance. If they can extort you to sell your votes, how can they refrain from killing you when you don’t comply to the trade’s agreement?

So, take care of yourself, avoid such situations. Stand on your feet, don’t live on your knees. Stand for Bulan.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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