Dali masud sa bulsa or “can be easily placed in a pocket” is another common idiomatic expression in Bisayan language which implies a deceivable person. As campaign period comes, politicians, most likely, are now thinking of strategic tactics on how to veneer their unfavourable issues (corruption and bad governance) and deplorable attitudes to put us in their pockets. They tend to fool people with their rhetorical speeches, sweet promises, pretentious volunteering, and offering of their for-campaign-only donations and public appearances.
Even before campaign commences, politicians are insidiously placing people in their pockets. For instance, a certain presidential aspirant was reported to be giving away one thousand pesos in what they note “just a gesture of kindness.” There is more! Another candidate was also seen donating relief goods to the victims of Typhoon Maring; however, the coffee that is included in the relief package has no brand name, rather it is the politician’s face that is shamelessly printed on the cover. Hilarious!
If you have observed before, when provinces or towns were wrecked with calamitous events, only few of these aspirants were seen donating goods. We barely saw these candidates appear before the typhoon or earthquake victims. Now that elections are approaching, relief goods are overwhelmingly coming from time to time. Guess where these come from? No less than from your beloved presidential or senatorial aspirants. At this time, they are like wild animals hunting for vulnerable and easy-to-get people who get fooled with this kind of traditional trap.
Elections indeed change the typical scenarios in our society. Public officials would desperately kiss everyone’s cheeks or do almost impossible favors for their constituents. For instance, when the pandemic started, we hardly see these leaders-wannabe roaming around the streets checking the piteous situation of their people. But now, there they are waving and shaking hands, eating with the poor or meeting them at a dilapidated house just to be called “a public servant for the poor.” Yet, in reality, when they get their most desired position, everything returns to their normal routines – sitting pretty, shamelessly amassing public funds and failing to remember promises.
Why are these corrupt people still in power? Why are they still revered? Why are there people who still fall into their traps?
Most of the Filipino voters I know tend to choose the famous or most-liked candidates, despite having bad record and no experience. Thus, we have people now in the Lower House and even in the Senate whose capability in law-making is poor. It appears to me that popularity in entertainment is the best fooling tactic if you wish to win in an election. There’s even a famous joke in Bisaya that says, “nagpatonto rata sa budots,” or in English, we were fooled with the budots dance. This joke was popularized when an actor turned senator sought for another term of office despite having been convicted due to the pork barrel scam, and campaigned for by dancing budots on his advertisement. Unfortunately, he won!
Another, we are contented with small projects or meager donations from them. Whenever a new bridge or a new building is constructed, we become proud of them. We are fooled with the tarpaulins of their faces beside the newly constructed infrastructure, as if it is their money being used in the construction.
Proliferating of fake news is another fooling scheme by politicians today. There’s even an allegation that some of them are hiring people to post altered information in social media in favor of their candidacy. The social media has become the vulnerable avenue in spreading fabricated content, which leads to cyber bullying and, worse, history revisionism.
The most common is vote buying, or the act of “buying” and citizens “selling” votes. It is the usual dupe done by most aspirants to entice people to vote for them, despite being not fit for the position. Hence, the tragic winning of many clowns and useless candidates is not new to us.
How do we stop ourselves from getting fooled by these type of politicians? Simple. We urgently start the change in ourselves. We should learn to discern and reflect on the candidates’ agenda for our country. We choose them not for their popularity, but for their moral and professional capabilities. We should expect more from them, and know that whatever work they do, they are compensated for that. We do not owe anything from them.
by Marlon P. Labastida