Random Thoughts

VOTE-BUYING TRENDS — What did you receive during the campaign for the recent barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections?

Rice, sardines, noodles? Kuya /Ate, may calamity?

Or were some of the candidates so health conscious that they opted to distribute tilapia, bangus or galunggong instead? Fish be with you was their theme.

Others followed the never ending debate on which came first, eggs or chicken by distributing these.

Pigs shrieked in one barangay as they were being slaughtered because one aspirant decided to share a kilo of pork to woo his voters.

Then, a plate of pancit was offered by a candidate in Binmaley. In fairness, mainit-init at masarap daw yung pancit ni Kap.

Still, some gave their voters freedom to choose what to buy with their cash hand-outs.

Of course, there were bottles of patis (fish sauce) or bagoong (fish sauce) and even candies or cigarettes from some hard-up candidates. Sakit sa bato, diabetes o baga ang bagsak nyo nyan.

Still, others wanted to be remembered on the morning before votes were cast. They gave away coffee and sugar while others followed with Pinoys’ pan de sal.

Wait, not to be outdone were the smart bets who gave away plastic basin, tabo (dipper) or pitcher. Their targets were the reliable househelp and hundreds of nanay.

Since groups of male voters preferred a drinking session, Emperador, Matador, Ginebra and other agua de pataranta came marching in.

Yung iba pati posporo, SIM card na may P30 cash pang load.

These were just a few giveaways that never failed to give color to the pakurong (last minute campaign) of candidates in the Philippines.

It happened in all four corners of the country. Post fun activity was having to compare who got which freebies and giveaways. Pabonggahan.

It also mirrors the way we play politics. Ang walang maibibigay ay nganga.

The electorate and the candidates know pretty well that vote-buying is a crime but nobody gives it serious thought.

The Church was not remiss in reminding the faithful against selling their votes. But the trend was unstoppable. Sabayan mo sila kundi talo ka, was the name of the game of the candidates.

Bawal magbigay, maski unopposed, bawal, stressed Provincial Election Supervisor Marino Salas.

Kung may tetestigo, dapat kasuhan, said Salas.

Will someone stand up and file a case to stop this practice?—Eva Visperas


MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME — Though the election in Bonuan Gueset is over with the victory of Manuel Bumanglag by a huge margin, the challenge to him and others is how to catch up with development in the village after years of lethargy and inactivity if not failed governance.

We heard many issues against the outgoing kapitan, and one of the most telling was his alleged failure to submit a financial statement for 2017 to the Commission on Audit (COA).

To me, this is quite serious and if not explained well, the issue will hound Kapitan Rico Mejia and his co-officials even long after they revert to being private citizens.

We heard this issue was already raised before the Ombudsman and some of the outgoing officials responsible were already cited as among the respondents.

If this is true, since no one seemed to have denied it during the campaign, then incoming Kapitan Bumanglag would not be walking on a bed of roses but rather on bumpy grounds when he assumes his post beginning July 1 this year.

Our source said there is a probability he may inherit zero barangay funds when he assumes his post. There are reports that even the garbage fees paid by households were not receipted and collections went to somebody’s pockets.

Then there were also reports that payments of barangay permit fees not covered by official receipts, close relatives were in barangay payroll and so forth and so on.

Methinks Mejia’s inability or failure to explain and clarify these allegations were some of the reasons why Mejia lost miserably in addition to the charge that the barangay did not have any meaningful project during his 26-year tenure.

Mejia was politically invincible in the past but in this election, I guess the majority of the electorate of Gueset decided that enough was enough, and showed him the exit door.

Under his watch, Gueset failed to capitalize on its being the most populous barangay not only in Dagupan and Pangasinan but also in the entire Region 1 with a voting population in the just concluded Barangay and SK elections of 17,176.

We heard that Gueset receives P17 million yearly as its internal revenue share from the national government.

We congratulate Bumanglag, who was hesitant to run from the very start but was eventually persuaded to throw his hat into the ring when somebody told him he was the only one who could stop the pillage and save his village.

Ruel, a neighbor of Noel, told me the incoming barangay kapitan is really generous even as a private citizen who cares for his neighbors and kabarkadas every Christmas.

This is perhaps why people of Gueset are now pinning high hopes on him to institute change and the needed reforms that they sorely missed under the long Rico administration. —Leonardo Micua

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