Why do undesirable men win in elections?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 18, 2018 - 12:00am

The good men do not always win the race. It is the shady characters who know the tricks of the dirty game of politics who always prevail, the ones who have more money, better connections, and stronger family dynasties and clans behind them who have the edge. Elections in a struggling nation with a poor economy are always dominated by the lords of the many rings, the lords of the drug ring, the lords of the gambling rings, the lords of the crime rings, and the lords and kingpins of all the underground activities. Many good men are idealists who are not street-smart. They stay away from the village and just come home to run for local elections. They always end up being beaten by the local thugs, the local ''siga-siga'' and incompetent drunkards who are well-known by the unthinking masses.

Good candidates with excellent credentials and impeccable track record do not usually win local elections, especially barangay polls. It is always the local guys who know how to spend money for drinking sprees, those who always attend burials and wakes, those who usually stand as godfathers of the children of neighbors and relatives. Good candidates who are working in the city and only go home during town fiestas and local celebrations do not really have any fighting chance in local polls. The better candidates who have the brains and the competence, the leadership and management skills do not look attractive to the local voters. They want the buddies they always see around in bad times and in good.

Undesirable men with some unsavory records and suspicious reputation still win in local elections because they are known to the folks in the village. The voters know these local politicians by first name and they spend time together, they are familiar with their styles and approaches. The corporate types and the professional guys who aspire for barangay posts do not look attractive to the village voters. They do not belong to the people. The culture of Filipino voters is such that voters do not need their leaders to be degree holders. Master degrees or doctorates do not ring a bell in the barangay. They need men and women who will provide them water, light, and who will come to their aid when there are problems, whether natural or man-made calamities.

Good men do not win elections when their goodness appears to be a wall that isolates them from the electorate. The voters do not care if the kagawads or kapitans are crooks if the people can always go to them for assistance. This is patronage politics, the padrino systems still works and transactional politics is still the name of the game. The people in the barangay do not care about titles or credentials. They do not care what the candidates know as long as the candidates know how to care. The voters elect leaders who have rapport with them, who know their aspirations and their needs.

Elections are not the contest for the most competent. It is really a fight among those who are most pleasing to the people. Good men, as we define them, in terms of qualifications, are often misunderstood because they lack rapport with the people.


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