By Mortz C. Ortigoza
Now that the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth) Election is included in the May 14 Barangay Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE), does it mean that the poll should be insulated from the maneuvering of the moneyed politicians and the parents of these candidates who compete for the presidency and membership in the Pederasyon ng Sangguniang Kabataan or Council.
For the uninitiated, a winning SK President can become an ex-officio councilor of a town or a non-component city and becomes an ex-officio Board Member of the province.
The position as lawmaker commands the same respect, emoluments, and pork barrel distribution from the power- that- be in the province.
The parents and politicians zealously bankroll and see their bets win so they can either becomes a councilor or a board member and “flaunt” the “Honorable” title appended before their names.
Here’s how monies played a role for the victory of these bets:
Candidate X, 16, was a relative of a successful businessman and politician. After winning the burgeoning town’s SK poll overall federation presidency, the politician wants the kin to become an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board).
“I and my family gave P50,000 to the mayor, P50,000 to the SK town president,” he told me their strategy to buy the loyalty and vote of the town ex-officio councilor.
“Why gave P50,000 to the mayor, it’s a waste of monies. The SK will vote for the provincial SK Federation President,” I posed perplexed.
The seasoned politico explained that even they bought the loyalty of the ex-officio councilor; the mayor can still influence him to vote for the other candidate.
“Ang mayors ang nagbibigay ng projects sa each of the councilors. Puwede silang ma deprieved pag sinuway nila si mayor,” he insinuated about the S.O.P or cut from the contracts given to a loyal and submissive solon that runs to hundreds if not millions of pesos just like what members of Congress get from the pork barrel given by Malacanang.
Among the eight congressional district’s province, his kin lost to four of the districts to the son of a mayor.
He answered that the congressmen, the governor, two billionaire businessmen interfere to influence the voters to vote for the mayor’s son.
But unlike the village chief in a city who sued his fellow kapitans who took his P50,000 bribe but instead vote for the candidate of a mayor for the League of the Barangays presidency or an equivalent of a councilor in the City Council, the businessman-politico told the mayor and the parents that they have to retain the monies he gave.
“It’s yours. Our family maintains the principle that what we gave we don’t take it back”.
He said a day before the election they have “kidnapped” (a bastardized word for “billeted) at their rest house the towns and cities’ SK Presidents where they dined and wined them until the D-Day at the polling stations.
“One of our unforgettable experiences in that race was a candidate who was asked by his shrewd father to go in another province so he can bid the highest price from me and the mayor (whose son ran for the post)”.
I asked him why he was too focused on the enterprising father.
“The match was neck-and- neck. The opponent’s family got four districts while we got four, too, we don’t have to lower our guards”.
He said the opponent’s father offered P100, 000 to the father but he would not acquiesce.
“I told the father my last offer was P200,000 that he immediately took it”.
As a result of the intelligent maneuvering, his kin narrowly won the election for the ex-officio post in the SP with a lead of three votes.
A very expensive election where his family spent roughly P5 million to a position that gave only a salary of P70,000 monthly.
The politico credited the power of monies in winning the tight race.
“Without it, we lost the election!”
I could not, son of gun, agree more. It only takes a lots of monies and the bribes to vulnerable Filipinos to make election in this country not only exciting for the moneyed bets but for the effin’ voters.
To those parents who egg their children to become a councilor or a BM through the SK poll, remember: It’s not for the fainthearted. SK Polls, just like the presidency of the League of Barangays, Councilors League, and the regular elections for the council, mayorship, governorship, congressional, senatorial, and presidential need the power of wherewithal.
“Ano ang wherewithal, sir?” my errand boy Galman Torres, who was unlettered, posed.
“Ah, wherewithal, paano ba e explain iyan sa iyo. Ah, gamot iyan! Nabibili sa drug store”.
(You can read my selected columns at mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org)