Corrupt voters and corrupt candidates in a corrupt electoral system
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 5, 2019 - 12:00am

Corruption, according to Wikipedia, is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit gain. Political corruption is the unscrupulous use of powers by government officials and their underlings, cohorts, and networks of blind supporters or illegitimate and selfish advantages and benefits. Illegal acts of office holders, to constitute political corruptions, must be somehow connected with the performance of official functions, and under the color of law or some semblance of legality. Based on these definitions, we can conclude that ours is still a corrupt system. Both the candidates and the voters are corrupt, except for a very few clean and unblemished ones.

The candidates are corrupt, or, to be fair, most of them. They are corrupt because they use public funds, public resources, and their public position to advance their narrow and selfish partisan and personal political objectives. They give away vehicles, laptops, office equipment, and build roads, bridges and waiting sheds, multi-purpose buildings, then claim that these are given from the goodness of their hearts. They do not stress the fact that all these are funded by public money taken from the taxes of the people. It is blatantly and maliciously dishonest to claim credit for the public resources and public services that were paid for with public funds. This is patronage politics and it is a form of corruption.

The voters are corrupt too, or to be very fair, most of the voters, (there are still a few exceptions) because they expect and demand money as a consideration for voting. They go to the highest bidders and they make their choices not on the basis of platforms, much less principles, but on the basis of patronage politics, on the basis of “utang na loob” and padrino system. The voters don’t consider the issues, they don’t care about performance and track records. They vote on the basis of expediency and patronage, and just follow the dictates and impositions of the ward leaders and the barangay officials who are under the control of mayors and congressmen.

Our system is corrupt because it perpetrates and perpetuates the largely discredited corrupt system of voting and being voted upon. Parties and candidates are founded, accredited, and allowed to run on the basis of personalities and popularity and not on principles and ideologies. The Comelec closes its eyes to rampant vote-buying. If it sees, it doesn’t act. If it acts, it is reversed by the corruption in some judicial bodies. The system of accrediting partylist groups is also corrupt. The original and primordial objective of the partylist system has been corrupted. Instead of the marginalized sectors being represented, it is the family dynasties that are lording it over.

This corrupt system is bound to perpetuate itself until and unless the mind of every Filipino chooses to change in a way that we all desire. And that is a tall order. Very difficult to attain, but definitely not impossible.

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