Saturday, April 10, 2010

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


Who wants to be rich? Almost everybody, I presume.

With richness comes a luxurious life, beautiful mansions, expensive jewelry made of gold and diamonds, closets full of any trendy clothes or shoes you want to wear, no problem with financial debts or obligations, a complete staff of household help ready to work at your service, and other manifestations of comfort you would think of.

But if you’re running for a public office in the Philippines, you would not want to be identified with the wealthy class. Naturally, the poor Filipino masses deliver the largest chunk of votes that will elect the new set of leaders. So the candidates try to identify themselves with the poor such as being published having dinner with a poor family using their hands as they appeared to enjoy eating a plate of rice and some pieces of fried salted fish.

The naked truth is all the official candidates for president and other top government posts in the Philippines are rich. With less money, you cannot win even a local election for a town chairman.

If Mayor Bloomberg of New York City who is a billionaire had to spend his multi-millions of his own money to win his mayoral election three times, then any other candidate for public office particularly in a third world country like the Philippines cannot win an election with less money.

In politics anywhere in the world, everything boils down to money as the most potent weapon to win an election. In short, what I am trying to say is most voters go to the highest bidder. Most voters sell their votes, as said in another way.

Selling one’s vote comes in various forms of return of investment. It can be a nice government job, a promotion, a college education for the children, a house and lot, a sack of rice, or just plain cold cash.

I am now retired from New York politics because I don’t have enough money. When I ever stumble on a gold mine in the sky, so to speak, I shall return.

As a footnote, before amassing enormous wealth, I will still consider the biblical saying before making any move that says: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”


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