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How would you define a 'traditional politician'?


Maricel Maralit, Naga City: A traditional politician makes false promises, uses money to buy votes, and perpetuates himself in power. Sadly, we have lots of them in our country.  

Ruel Bautista, Laguna: A traditional politician is someone who wouldn’deviate from a time-honored practice though time and need have outlived its relevance.

Anyone who enters politics

Rodolfo Talledo, Angeles City: Despising a trapo is most unfair and unjust. Anybody who enters politics ultimately becomes one.

Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan: If he walks like a trapo, talks like a trapo, smells like a trapo and promises easy solutions to complicated problems, must be a certified trapo.

Alden Bula, Davao City: A traditional politician is as rich as Villar, as obedient as Gibo, as confusing as Erap, as landed as Noynoy, and as heretic as Villanueva.

Ishmael Q. Calata, Parañaque City: First of all, whatever happened to a word that is derived from a beautiful root word, tradition, is saddening. Tradition is something usually good that is handed down from forefathers to offspring and these usually become part of a nation’s culture. Today, we see the word with a twisted meaning when used to refer to a traditional politician, a title which has become a derogatory description of the unwanted, hated and much talked-about species of the humankind engaged in dirty politics. Whoever coined it must have had first a dirty word in mind: trapo, which means a wiping rug that gets dirtier when used. I take it that a traditional politician is one who engages in many tricks and scandalous acts as seen in present-day politics.

Jose Fabello Jr., Cagayan de Oro City: Anyone who enters politics becomes one in the long run.

Dino Monzon, Caloocan City: A traditional politician is one who started serving in public office with good intentions but eventually became corrupted by power and plots to keep it.

A giver of false hopes and promises

Pat Cuilan, Benguet: A trapo usually campaigns by promising heaven on earth.

Eric Gopilan, Quezon City: A traditional politician is one who makes empty promises and befriends everyone and has amnesia after the elections.

Pedro Alagano Sr., Vigan City: One who promises everything just to get elected, but whose true colors come out once in power. Greed and betrayal become their trademark.

Mandy Rillon, Cabanatuan City: A traditional politician is one greedy for power, gift of gratitude and money. Used to giving false hopes and promises, they use vast amounts of money and maximize their influence to advance their personal interests and that of their cohorts. To them, politics is their best source of money, power and influence.

Lilian Villaronte, Cabanatuan City: A person with a  thousand promises and good words that is a traditional politician.

Armando Tavera, Las Piñas City: A joker for being a No. 1 mambobola. What he says in front of everybody is the exact opposite of what he does at their backs.

Rey Ibalan, Antipolo City: He/She is somebody who claims to be pro-poor, promises the moon and the stars, then forgets everything after getting elected.

Cris Rivera, Rizal: Noynoy Aquino promises no new taxes and Manny Villar promises to help the poor. They spent millions on TV ads. This is the perfect definition of traditional politicians.

Gerii Calupitan, Muntinlupa City: God made Eve to keep Adam company, but with specific instructions: Do not partake of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. All was fine until a serpent came and said, “Please let me introduce myself. I’m a man of wealth and fame. Just call me Lucifer or I’ll lay your soul to waste.” (Sympathy for the Devil, the Rolling Stones). He came back later as a trapo and said, “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, walang kamag-anak, walang kumpare, walang kaibigan, etc.” and, like in the old times, we paid the price for their lies. The Indians said, “They speak with forked tongues.” That, for me, describes a trapo.

Robert Young Jr., San Juan: Traditional politicians will promise voters anything under the sun during the campaign period, but will forget any of them after the elections. Trapos are concerned more about their pork, takes from lobbyists, and chairmanships of committees where they earn extra millions. Trapos plan on where to travel, best place to dine the first day after they are elected. Trapos book their tickets and 5-star hotel in Las Vegas months before a Pacquiao fight. Trapos join the presidential entourage on her foreign trips. Trapos don’t think of their constituent’s welfare until it’s election time again. Trapos are liars, cheaters and thieves.

Nimfa Cuaresma, Pangasinan: A traditional politician is a yes man; one who doesn’t know how to say no, even to a perceived enemy. A transactional leader and never a confrontational one.

William Gonzaga, Marikina City: A traditional politician is one who practically promises heaven to his constituents while still campaigning for the position he is aspiring for. However, after he has won, he will immediately forget his promise and give the people hell.

One obsessed with personal ambition

Ernesto Oliquiano, Las Piñas City: For me, a traditional politician is one who, during the campaign, would promise heaven and earth, the moon and the stars, and, if necessary, use the 3Gs of politics, guns, goons and gold, for only one purpose: To win.  But after the elections and he wins, to hell with everybody. It’s him and his associates first and foremost.

Roland Begonia, Puerto Princesa: A traditional politician has no vision for his constituents. He is self-interested and is not capable of or willing to turn his stagnant community into a progressive one.

Dr. Dennis Acop, Baguio City: First, his No. 1 value is the attainment of his personal ambition through any means possible. I find this quite ironic for people running for public office in order to “serve the people”. Second, traditional politicians lose their idealism, if ever they had any to begin with, at the altar of populism. Third, trapos are very pragmatic individuals sometimes too pragmatic that they seem to lose sight of the values, assuming they had any to begin with, that propelled them into public service. Fourth, trapos are centered on themselves, and not on party platforms, to win votes. Platforms eventually hold politicians accountable so opportunities that marginalize accountability are always welcome to trapos who are largely into wheeling and dealing through their terms in office. It’s best not to vote for one.

Col. Ben Paguirigan Jr., Ret., Zamboanga City: They’re those politicians who look after the welfare of family first then constituents later.

Leonard Villa, Batac City: One who employs foul means to achieve his or her objective and who sacrifices public good in pursuit of self-interest. He is also one who does illegal and immoral acts with impunity.

C.B. Fundales, Bulacan: A traditional politician is one who isn’t guided by principled beliefs. He preserves his interest above that of the state through politics of convenience.

Lolong Rejano, Marinduque: He is a professional politician who can make everything possible for his own good and interest. Once he enjoys the power and glory, he becomes addicted to power.

Ruben Viray, Antipolo City: He is an opportunist interested in using political power for his personal gain. Some of them brag about their achievements, which in fact are only expected of them by the people. Trapos use bribery in all forms, have flying voters, engage in vote-buying, rig elections and, worse of all, steal ballot boxes in order to win. Need I say more?

Rose Leobrera, Manila: They’re all intoxicated with power, while the ordinary masa that got them elected remain poor. The poor only get a share of their limelight during election time. When trapos get elected, the promise of a good life never happens.

Edwin Castillo, Tanauan City: A trapo makes promises that cannot be fulfilled. He shifts parties based on personality, out of convenience and not party principles.

Political ingrates, butterflies

Elpidio Que, Vigan: Traditional politicians are the equivalent of rugs, trapo or basahan in the Philippine political landscape. They are wolves that come to us dressed as lambs to prey on us. They are political chameleons with no fixed party. They can switch party allegiance to suit their personal plans, swinging from party to party. They package themselves as impoverished in their youth.

Erwin Espinoza, Pangasinan: Trapos would be political butterflies like Loren, political ingrates like Noynoy, Roxas and Drilon, and political peacocks like Erap, Villar and Binay.

Janet Lopez, Manila: Imelda Marcos is the talking, walking shoo-in.

Someone who is corrupt

Abelardo Abilay, Laguna: A traditional politician is one who leads and manages the country like everyone does. Sadly, the common way nowadays is through the corruption of power, position and procurement. The shortened term for traditional politician is trapo, which translates to “dirty rag” in English.

Renato Taylan, Ilocos Norte: A wolf in sheep’s skin that isn’t too timid to accept bribes and jueteng money. And, yes, he is a master in the art of vote-buying in order to win.

Jesus Mendoza, Pangasinan: A traditional politician is simply one who sacrifices moral principles at the altar of political expediency and selfish vested interests.

One steeped in patronage politics

Romeo Caubat, Masbate: A traditional politician is a product of the old school, which has perfected the art of patronage politics. Moreover, he has no tangible accomplishment.

L.C. Fiel, Quezon City: Our politics and political practices have been with us since Independence Day. A traditional politician follows the same past practices that even raw politicians catch up on. Given time, cyberspace will eventually become a traditional tool, like guns, goons and gold, plus glitz, glamour and true lies.

Cris Rivera, Rizal: He is one who inherits and or emulates the acts of politicians before.This is particularly obvious among members of a political dynasty.

Germi Sison, Cabanatuan City: “Tradition” refers to the good old virtues of our forebears that had been passed on to today’s generation. “Politician” refers to those who are engaged in policy-making or the execution of policies or laws. Therefore, traditional politicians are the likes of Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, Claro M. Recto, Jose P. Laurel, Lorenzo Sumulong, Arturo Tolentino, Jovito Salonga, etc. However, the traditional politicians today have a penchant for attaining their personal glories through whatever means, to the point of harming the nation or earn their notoriety in graft and corruption.

Jimmy Donton, Puerto Princesa City: The word “traditional” means good practices inherited for generations, preserving cultural heritage. However, for Filipinos, the word has deviated from its original meaning, making it appear that a traditional politician is not good and does bad things.

Dennis Montealto, Mandaluyong City: He who employs age-old practices to keep his constituents loyal every election time, like being godfather in baptismal rites and marriage ceremonies or sponsoring fiesta events or being benefactor to so many indigent scholars, attending funerals, cockfights, etc., to name a few. These have brought many politicians to the corridors of power, but have only been used as a stepping stone for perpetuation or elevation to a higher office, without much impact in the lives and living conditions of the people they have sworn to serve.

Manny Cordeta, Marikina City: He simply is one who acts on the basis of an established practice that is ingrained in a culture of continuity. For fear of not “dancing to the music”, the trapo resorts to a common tactic linked to his present-day contemporaries. Typical of this is a politician who engages in throwing mud at his rival so negative and pitifully pathetic yet still failing to address his platform of governance on a substantial positive approach. I have witnessed in a number of occasions the trapo gracing wakes, town fiestas and related gatherings. So sad a reality, it really is a bitter pill to swallow.

Leandro Tolentino, Batangas: A traditional politician is the candidate who runs under the banner of a traditional political party such as the Liberal Party or the Nacionalista Party.

One who perpetuates himself in power

Eufrocino Linsangan, Isabela: A traditional politician sticks to his post at all costs and builds a political dynasty. He is corrupt, but pretends to be a God-fearing man of the masses.

Joe Nacilla, Las Piñas City: For me, traditional politicians are those that make politics a very lucrative family business. They run for office not because of their own capabilities but because their parents were also in public office, as if it has become their birthright.

C.B. Manalastas, Manila: Traditional politicians or trapos are those who perpetuate themselves in power. That includes their families.

Alfredo Guevarra Jr., Pasay City: A traditional politician is a person who doesn’t ever want to leave politics. After his or her term expires, a relative runs for the position.

Chris Navarro, Las Piñas City: Traditional politicians are blood-sucking creatures who are not satisfied with their millions, haciendas, high-rise buildings, luxury cars and mansions. Thus, they want to own the entire city, province and country by letting their whole clan run and hold public offices. Known trapos are the Arroyos, Marcoses, Villars, Estradas, Cayetanos, Binays, Asistios, Revillas, and the remaining 90 per cent of our politicians.

Ed Galactico, Bacolod City: Traditional politicians are those that no longer have any morals or conscience or feelings of guilt remaining in them and in their souls. They are the replica of evil, greedy, corrupt, pretentious, hypocritical and lustful people who only care for eternal power, glory and stolen wealth from the impoverished country and Filipinos. They are people that exploit the misery, illiteracy, hopelessness and desperation of the majority of Filipinos. They are willing to sell their and their family’s souls just to stay in power and maintain a stranglehold over the lives and deaths of their constituents. 

Dr. Jose Balcanao, Benguet: Traditional politicians are power-hungry political veterans who do not want to retire from politics because they enjoy all the perks from the pork barrel even though the constituents they are serving are not fully satisfied or contented. They are power addicts who use the name of the poor as a tradition to gain influence although the poor’s plight remains the same. Most traditional politicians even want to extend their power beyond the Constitution.

C.B. Manalastas, Manila: Trapos are dyed-in-the-wool politicians that create political dynasties.

His motive is self-aggrandizement

Jim Veneracion, Naga City: The trapo tag is typical of the Filipino politician who dabbles mainly in dirty or patronage politics. His motives are mostly for self-aggrandizement.

Lucas Banzon Madamba II, USA: A traditional politician is a politician who derives wealth and power from the current system.

Desuel Pardo, Mandaluyong City: We see the pictures and names of traditional politicians in billboards or government vehicles, claiming credit for putting up waiting sheds or patching road cracks or having secured so and so vehicle for public service. They spend immeasurable amounts of money to advertise their candidacy, declare to high heavens their desire to uplift the living conditions of the poverty-stricken people they exploit. They are insensitive to the cries for justice of the people who are not their allies and callous to criticisms hurled at them by concerned citizens. They are now running for elective public office even if they are not qualified for the position. They are very visible now, but invisible after elections.

Lorenzo Fernandez Jr., Cabanatuan City: These stereotyped statements define a trapo: “My heart belongs to the poor, because I came from a poor family. I was once a janitor, kargador, magbobote, magsasakang nakasakay sa kalabaw, blah, blah, blah, so I know the hardships of being poor. Vote for me and I assure you of economic hardship for the rest of your lives.” Only, the final sentence is muted and kept only to himself.

Loi Castillo, Davao City: A traditional politician uses the method of “exposing” the sins of his opponent, employing private armies, putting up billboards with his face on it and last, but not the least, presenting himself as the messiah who will solve all the country’s problems. Mas bilib pa ako sa isang incumbent official that never put his name on a billboard to say that it was his initiative to get a project done.

Someone who truly wants to serve

Delfin Todcor, Quezon City: A real traditional politician is a real statesmen; he cares for the welfare of the nation and promotes justice, health, and education.

Views expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The STAR. The STAR does not knowingly publish false information and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising their right to free expression. The publication also reserves the right to edit contributions to this section as it sees fit.

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