A government of trapos, by trapos and for trapos

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 15, 2020 - 12:00am

Except only for a few Don Quixote dela Manchas, this nation is governed by an elite group of trapos, or traditional politicians, whose money, power, influence and ferocity, are, for the longest time in history, until now, and till forever, ruling over the more than 110 million people in 7,107 islands and those working and migrating  abroad.

This is not the government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is only a principle memorized by innocent and virginal elementary pupils in order to pass their social studies. But as soon as they see the painful realities of life, they are going to gradually realize that such a statement of idealism does not really reflect the truth of life and the realities in this cruel world. This nation is governed by the wishes, whims, caprices and dictates of the high and mighty political lords and those who have the money, the powerful names and the network of blind followers who do not know, much less follow any principle, ideology or doctrine.

How do we elect mayors and governors? We choose not the brightest and the most honest. We chose those who have control over the ward leaders, the corps of barangay leaders, and the heads of big and extended clans and families. And how does a political lord control these leaders down the line? Money is the name of the game. And Influence peddling, putting their sons, daughters and paramours in government offices, and desecrating the fitness and merit system of a true professional civil service. Mayors and governors are elected not because they are the most deserving. It is because they bear the names that exude power, that project the aura of prestige and strength.

In Cebu, you cannot win an election if your family name is Daosdos, or Bucog or Baclay (no offense intended) and your opponent is an Osmeña or a Garcia or a Rama. You will not even be taken seriously if you dare to run for senator and your family name is Bugtai, Dukirok or Sangkiig (again, no insult is intended) and your opponent is a Villar or a Poe or a Recto. In this country, names have a brand value. That is why Erap changed his name from Ejercito to Estrada and Bong changed his name from Bautista to Revilla. If Manny were not a world champion, Pacquiao would not have won as senator. This is a nation governed by the power of names, the impact of branding.

In the seventh district Cebu, if you are not a Calderon or a Garcia, or perhaps a Gica, a Blanco or a Librando, you cannot win as a congressman. Except if you are a Don Quixote. Congressman Calderon has the double brand of Durano because his mom was a Durano married to a Calderon. The only rare exception is Congressman Willy Caminero who defeated a Garcia, a Kintanar and many other famous names in the second district. In the first district, here is no other name more powerful than Gullas. In the third district, the old Osmeña brand was beaten by a rising Garcia. In the fourth, Salimbangon is the flavor of the decade. And in the fifth, Frasco is a fresher name than Durano. In the sixth, none yet can beat an Ouano, except if you are Cortes or a Seno. In Lapu-Lapu, the old brands are now dominated by Radaza.

There are few Don Quixotes, who can beat an Osmeña or a Garcia, perhaps a Labella, a Rama or a Davide. In the early days of Martial Law, only the Pusyon Bisaya could beat the KBL. But then again, Marcos was even happy with its victory. It became the Martial Law dictator's Exhibit One, before the court of world public opinion, to prove that there was democracy under a Martial Law regime. This is not the country of the brilliant and the honest leaders. The government is off the people, buy the people and fool the people.

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