Monday, February 12, 2007

Of Payoffs And The Economy

Talk of bribes paid to senatorial bets had been going around for the past weeks. Use of aircrafts and even shouldering of campaign expenses had been mentioned. There was even mention of actual figures, P100-150Million. And these amounts are given upfront. Its no wonder that even those allied with Erap were lured to jump the fence and join the administration's so called Unity Ticket.

The power of the incumbent and its machinery will be bearing on the opposition with all its might. The midterm elections will be the most expensive one to date. What about the funding for administration's cohorts in the lower house? For sure they will be asking for funds too. GMA needs to win both houses to save her neck. Surely, dirty money will be flowing, no doubt about it.

This early, she had been dragging with her the M&Ms, not the candy but Mike and Migz (the supposed to be bright boys with misdirected principles). To spoil the opposition's chances, they are fielding namesakes. Some had said that this will be the dirtiest elections yet. With the tactics the administration had been employing, it is turning out to be one.

Trillions of pesos will be poured into this elections. Their cheating operators will be very busy and greedy. Promotions and appointments had allowed the administration to put in place the best frauds in the land. While Garci may have retired, his army of cheats have been given new posts with matching promotions. With the automation put on hold, who knows what these cheats have in store for us.

The opposition however lacks funding. This is the reason why their (un)principled allies joined the administration. Businessmen wouldn't dare support the opposition for fear of reprisal from the present dispensation. We all know how the administration uses the institutions at getting back at its opponents. Nobody is safe from the long arms of the (un)lawful.

But let's go back to the bribes. Let's be conservative and peg it at P100M. That's P100M x 12 candidates = P1.2Billion, add the cost of advertising which could be another P1.2Billion, that's a huge chunk of the National Budget for 2007. It could have been put to good use. It could have been used to pay part of our national debt. Or better yet, improve the basic services, our people so desperately need. This of course does not include the money to be handed out to their congressmen and local executive allies. The election operators would also demand for their share of the pie. I wouldn't be surprised if this election alone would cost the administration more than P6Billion in total. The country could have a lot of uses for this amount and Gloria wouldn't need to walk out on reporters when asked about the economy. Oil and LPG prices went down due to the decrease in international prices, not because of her economic reforms. OFW remittances is at an all-time high and the dollar's continuing decline is the reason why the exchange rate is dropping. The EVAT is a major factor in the shrinking deficit. While she brags about the economy, high utility rates continue to make life hard for the ordinary Filipino. We, the taxpayers should rise up and tell this government that this is where the real fight is. It is not in congress or the electoral battlefields. We the people deserve more, much, much more.

If Gloria can raise this staggering amount to bribe her candidates, then the country is not her priority. She would rather make her minions happy than make sure every child can get a good education, that every Filipino can be given better health service, that there will be food on every family's table and that there will be a roof over every Filipino's head. No wonder its only her and her cohorts who believe and feel the improving economy. If this is the kind of person who believes she is the country's best leader, then I must go with those who advocate a national strike and let her know we've had enough of her brand of leadership and that we will not give her our hard-earned taxes.