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For Nakatago, a brief rundown of the Philippine elections

Postby Vaucluse » Sat, 13 Feb 2010 4:13 pm

Not to worry, mate . . . at least they are 'fun'

The three-month Philippine election season that has just got underway has a cast of characters fit for a farcical, dark comedy.

Among the headline actors is Imelda Marcos. Yes, at the age of 80, she is back, as unrepentant as ever about her husband's dictatorship that ended with a "people power" revolution in 1986.
Political pundits say she is a near certainty to win the lower house seat in the northern province of Iloces Norte that is being vacated by her son Ferdinand Marcos Jnr.

Ilocos Norte remains a stronghold of the Marcoses, and the apparent amnesia over the family's 20-year rule of the country has seen Junior become a strong tip to win a Senate seat in the May elections.

Already in the Senate, but not in the country right now, is Panfilo Lacson.
He left the country shortly before being charged with murder in early February for the death of a man that occurred a decade ago when he was national police chief under then-president Joseph Estrada.
Interpol have put out an alert for Lacson, but having a senator on the run does not seem so strange in the Philippines.
Even if he is caught, he could still serve the people from a jail cell.
One current senator, Antonio Trillanes, is doing just that.
The former navy officer has been languishing in prison since 2003 after being accused of leading a failed coup against President Gloria Arroyo.

With the Filipino courts overstretched, his trial has dragged on for many years and remains ongoing.

While biding his time in his cell, he was able to campaign and won a Senate seat in the 2007 elections.

Taking their cue from Trillanes, two other military men in jail awaiting trial for different coup attempts against Arroyo are running for seats in Congress this year.

Continuing with the jailbird theme... former president Estrada is attempting a comeback. The former B-grade movie star, who was deposed in a popular revolt in 2001, would also be in jail had he not been pardoned by Arroyo three years ago.

Estrada, who was ousted because of corruption and later convicted of graft, is running for president and polling a respectable third in surveys.
With more than 17,000 posts on offer from president to town councilor in the national elections, there is a bewildering number of other colourful characters vying for a share of power.

Manny Pacquiao, the seven-time world champion boxer, is running for a seat in the lower house.
While experts say he is the underdog, Filipinos have long shown they are happy to elect people to public office based on their star power rather than political prowess.

The ruling coalition turned to a popular actor and game show host, Edu Manzano, as its vice presidential candidate in a bid to boost the flagging campaign of its hope for president, Gilberto Teodoro.

Bidding for re-election to the Senate this year are Ramon "Bong" Revilla and Estrada son Jinggoy Ejercito, both of whom built their fame as movie actors.

A former senator, television game show host Vicente "Tito" Sotto, is also running.

Hoping to join them in the Senate is Imelda Papin, better know as the queen of Filipino love songs.

For a journalist, reporting on such a chaotic and colourful brand of democracy is endlessly fascinating.

But as a Filipino colleague pointed out, the Philippines has been sliding further behind its Asian neighbours economically for decades, hampered by poor political leadership, corruption and nepotism.

And so, as my colleague said, what makes for interesting journalism often creates misery for the impoverished Filipinos.

In this blog, reporters and editors for global news wire AFP blog about the news they report and the challenges they face covering events from Baghdad to Beijing, the White House to Darfur. Karl Malakunas is AFP bureau chief in Manila.



Around The World - Yahoo! News UK



Bread and games?
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Postby nakatago » Sat, 13 Feb 2010 10:26 pm

Why oh why oh why did you have to remind me? :mad: :mad: :mad: Note: currently in the country.

And they're not 'fun.' Sure it is if you're an outsider but if you realize that these clowns will be running (or should that be ruining?) your home country, you'd stop laughing.Well, you get the term run-down right. :o :o :o

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Postby morenangpinay » Sat, 13 Feb 2010 11:35 pm

yup dont forget the aquino clan. :roll:

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Postby Vaucluse » Mon, 15 Feb 2010 11:44 am

nakatago wrote:Why oh why oh why did you have to remind me? :mad: :mad: :mad: Note: currently in the country.

And they're not 'fun.' Sure it is if you're an outsider but if you realize that these clowns will be running (or should that be ruining?) your home country, you'd stop laughing.Well, you get the term run-down right. :o :o :o



:) Sorry, it was meant tongue-in-cheek . . . but the election time has more pizzazz than the boring old Singaporean ones.



As de Maistre said (paraphrasing):

People have the government they deserve . . .



What in heck have the Filipinos done to deserve what they have?! :lol:
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Postby nakatago » Mon, 15 Feb 2010 1:04 pm

Centuries of oppressive colonial rule plus economic hardships have programmed people into a permanent survival mode where foresight is absent. Could also be a chicken and egg thing. Decades under martial law also aggravated things, not to mention having lost a generation of politicians who would've chained things but we got the traditional politicians who propagated patronage politics... :???:

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Postby Vaucluse » Mon, 15 Feb 2010 2:25 pm

Ah, too easy to blame the colonial powers . . . that was a long time ago, a very long time ago.

But yes, I would think the simplistic nature of hero-worship of the average Jose has a big part to play . . . being star-struck by famous names . . . though Paqui lost his last bid.

You make a good point about having lost a generation of potentially good politicians . . . but who is to say they wouldn't just have carried on as before?!

What gets me is the family/clan power . . . I know a family of eleven brothers . . . they are all politicians, from the local level to the federal . . . thankfully they're good guys

Is there vote-buying like in Thailand? You know the type; 200baht for a vote. The head man gets 1000baht to get his flock to vote one way.
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Postby nakatago » Mon, 15 Feb 2010 3:17 pm

Vaucluse wrote:Ah, too easy to blame the colonial powers . . . that was a long time ago, a very long time ago.

But yes, I would think the simplistic nature of hero-worship of the average Jose has a big part to play . . . being star-struck by famous names . . . though Paqui lost his last bid.

You make a good point about having lost a generation of potentially good politicians . . . but who is to say they wouldn't just have carried on as before?!

What gets me is the family/clan power . . . I know a family of eleven brothers . . . they are all politicians, from the local level to the federal . . . thankfully they're good guys

Is there vote-buying like in Thailand? You know the type; 200baht for a vote. The head man gets 1000baht to get his flock to vote one way.


Well, I'm not saying it's because of colonization per se but rather the continuous stream of oppressive colonization is an indirect cause. Things would've gone the other way; obviously, at one point in history somebody reacted wrongly about being a colony and that went on and on and on.

Hero-worship and all...a people going through bad times look up to extraordinary people for hope. However, those icons, instead of empowering people, ended being looked up as messiahs. Was it their fault? Probably not on purpose. Like colonization, things could've gone the other way.

Manuel Quezon, during the American commonwealth times, said he'd rather see a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by Americans. I believe that was misplaced national pride right there and generations paid for that.

The brilliant Ferdinand Marcos would've changed things--he brought progress to the country--but he held on to power too much. Cronyism, liquidating the political opposition via extrajudicial killings and abductions (that's when the generation of politicians disappeared. If they didn't, at least checks and balances would've been maintained) and the edifice complex...those things eventually brought Marcos's Bagong Lipunan (New Society) crumbling down. I know a certain sovereignty that's also precariously walking that line.

Vote buying? Historically yes, currently, I'm not sure anymore, because some candidates are counting on their star power/clan ties to carry them into office. Probably for some local government units. Guess we'll find out during the election coverage. Something's bound to show up in the news by then.

But to be less cynical, some candidates are actually showing some promise. Their minds and hearts and in the right place, their competence cannot be questioned. However, their popularity leave much to be desired. But at least the debates now are less irritating--candidates give answers now (and with details how to accomplish them!), instead of rambling on and on, repeating useless platitudes. Some candidates also just cannot bank on being a celebrity now to win so being an actor, athlete or heir is now not a guaranteed political career. Though, to be fair, we had celebrities that did well while in office. It's not true for the whole country yet but it's still a very slow process.We'll get there. Eventually. :?


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