Filipino voters should be blamed for the Philippines’ problems

by Ilda

I don’t think there is a point in holding elections in the Philippines. It’s so expensive and the whole process just disrupts normal activities and keeps Filipinos from moving forward. What is the point in going through something that won’t even change or improve how things are being run in the country anyway?

Before every election, the candidates use literally the same song and dance routine to entertain the voters. After the election is over, the candidates go back to doing everything they can to protect their family’s interests and virtually nothing that could benefit the rest of the population. It’s just ridiculous.

If the Filipino voters are going to choose and elect their public servants from candidates who come from the same families who have been ruling the country for decades, then these families ought to just take turns in having a go at those lucrative positions in government; something like a contractual term will do. That’ll save us from bearing with all the empty slogans, campaign jingles, and adolescent mudslinging in the months leading to Election Day.

It’s getting harder and harder to feel sorry for Filipinos nowadays. They keep blaming others for their miseries when the fact is they are the ones who vote for the same people who cause much of their miseries. One can be forgiven for saying that Filipino voters are simply stupid, arrogant and just a bunch of losers.

At the moment, there are 178 dynasties ruling 73 of the 80 provinces in the Philippines. Now, that’s a lot. Who voted for these people? The answer: the same people who continue to complain about their wretched lives. Even a convicted plunderer can run again and again for public office. As long as he is popular, he and the rest of his family’s chances of winning are strong. It’s so pathetic.

Every three years the voters have an opportunity to vote for someone new and yet they still choose to vote for the same bozos. If Filipinos are tired of the same families who are running the country, why can’t they demand the end of the ruling of the dynasties? It should be easy enough to do if the clamor to end it is loud enough. The clamor for better candidates should culminate on Election Day, when voters choose someone who doesn’t belong to a ruling elite and someone who holds a true vision for the country.

Some Filipinos think that blaming the candidates is the way to go. Yes, majority of the candidates are taking advantage of the voter’s ignorance. These candidates deserve the scrutiny and some of the valid criticism. However, let us not ignore the fact that the voters are responsible for choosing the candidates.

Take a candidate like Nancy Binay. She is using her father’s popularity to win the election. Some of her critics are actually too harsh on her when they should be directing their anger at the voters. Nancy Binay or Bam Aquino would not even think twice about running if they knew they didn’t have a chance to win – if they knew the voters use their heads. But they know that having a popular family name is enough for them to win. What Nancy or Bam are doing may be unethical or wrong but they are comforted by the fact that it was the people who want them to win.

According to Bobby Tuazon who is the director for policy studies at the Centre for People Empowerment in Governance, the country’s political landscape is “getting worse”. Here’s what he had to say about the mid-term elections:

Tuazon projected that when all votes are counted, 21 of the 24 Senate seats will fall under the control of political families. That includes former President Joseph Estrada’s two sons from different mothers.

In the House of Representatives, about 80 percent of the 229 seats will also be dominated by dynasties. “The government will remain under the control of the traditional political parties,” he said.

“These are the same elites who control the economic resources of the country,” Tuazon said.

What is even more alarming for him is that clans are no longer content infielding two or three family members each election cycle. In the province of Maguindanao, where 34 journalists covering a campaign were killed in 2009, about 80 members of the Ampatuan family, which has been implicated in the massacre, are running for office. I can’t help but think that Tuazon is letting the Filipino voters off the hook with regard to the worsening state of Philippine politics. It’s as if the Filipino people are not free to choose. Filipinos are free to vote for the right candidate but they choose the wrong ones most of the time.

President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino is proof of this. I mean, why would the voters in Maguidananao still want to put any of the Ampatuan family in power after senior members of the clan allegedly massacred 52 innocent people? It’s so inconceivable.

Shaming the members of political dynasties does not even work. They have become dense and do not seem to have any shred of decency left. Since that is the case, shaming the voters could work instead in changing the political landscape in the Philippines. If the voters still prefer giving up their right to have a decent life, then members of the dynasties should just take turns ruling them, indeed.

At the end of the day, Filipino voters should be blamed for how the public servants they voted for run the country.