The Last Bote

A day after the election, I came across eight guys drinking on the sidewalk not far from our home. On top of their makeshift table is a plastic pitcher, a glass, a plate with crushed ice and another plate with some salted peanuts. My father who knows everyone in this village told me that these men worked all day as volunteers for the former mayor who just unseated the current progressive young mayor– the reason for the drunken celebration. It would be safe to assume that the money they used to procure their alcohol supply was their poll watcher allowance. Not the wises thing to do but hey, these ‘estambays’ religiously follow the creed ‘let tomorrow worry about itself’.

The following morning, about three or four of these half naked men lay wasted inside a jeepney parked on the side of the road. When I went home that day, I saw some of them, now dressed and smoking cigarettes,  standing in front of the neighborhood sari-sari store seemingly waiting for nothing.

That’s a clear eight to one advantage. I realized that my vote isn’t going to tip the polls balance. So why try?

This would be the third time I’m going to the polls. And this could very well be the last.

I voted for four senatorial candidate, a mayor, a vice mayor and a couple of councilmen (both offers free ‘notario’ and legal assistance). Why vote for 12 senators when you know there’s only a few that deserves to be in the senate. The quality of those running for public office has gone down to the bottom of the imburnal.

Voting these days feels like picking rotting fruits. It’s just a matter of choosing which ones are not as bad as the bad ones.

What’s with these old corrupt dinosaurs and their venal relatives all running for office? These showbiz personalities trying to find their second careers in politics?

The scary part is that these people are being voted in–proof that we haven’t learned anything. Just when I thought that the likes of Erap would have a hard time getting elected, they and their family are back–if this is not a sign of a self destructing society then tell me what is?

Our political structures keeps the best and brightest out of contention. These political dynasties and their filthy rich patrons, accomplished building a political machinery so formidable no common man, no matter how qualified, could challenge it. Occasionally, you’ll have the likes of Grace Padaca winning against these political dynasties but this happening is as a rare as seeing a white cockroach. And when these deserving men and women manage to sneak in the back door, how long do they last? Most of these standouts had already lose their reelection bids! Power has gone back to the political dynasties in the provinces–this is our sickening political reality.

People are not going to vote for progressives in this country–only those who could guarantee more hand outs. And traditional politicians, with their vile ways are quick to exploit the masses appalling desperation. That’s their bread basket right there. More poor, more power.

Why would they educate the poor when it is this condition that guarantees exploitation? Keep them dumb and hungry. This guarantees perpetuity in Filipino politics.


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