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Our sense of political choice


I once posted as Facebook status that I was considering running for the Congressional Office.  That was far from serious, but hardly a joke.  It was my way of mocking those who mocked the position itself.  The congressional office is not a gift, nor a blessing.  It is a symbolic representation of the people’s choice for a person who can at least draft laws, or who have a sensible legislative staff who can do research, and craft resolutions that would hopefully be worth becoming bills then laws.  And whoever sits on it does not own the funds that are appropriated for the office operations and the congressional office programs.  Hence, these are not for personal expenditures at his or her own pleasure. 

After several election processes, one gets tired of watching congressional wannabes declare their saccharine-like intent to run for a seat in Congress, and when elected, end up a number of times richer or well-traveled than they first sought the post.  Their constituents remain in poverty, because from the start, they did not see that there is more to writing the political candidate’s name on an election ballot than a five-hundred peso bill at the least.

Those intending to run for congress, whether for election or reelection, should consider what possible bills and other legislative acts may he pass.  He or she should start self-reflecting on his or her own qualities:  what has he or she got; and what can he or she do.  He or she should start considering what programs may be instituted for the good of the people.

Those who are exercising their right to suffrage, that is, who will vote in the next year’s elections, may perhaps start considering those who have already declared intent for election or reelection.  Why are they running?  What is in the congressional office that they, or their personal businesses, may benefit from, should they win the seat?  How could the Priority Development Assistance Fund appropriated (up to 30 million pesos maximum) by every congressman possibly be utilized so that the right beneficiaries may be provided with assistance?

Surely, we can no longer be content by saying that this candidate is good, kind, although with the corrupt politicians we have been having for decades since America ushered us to democracy, ‘honest’ and ‘sincere’ can be a good start.

And media—the so-called big voice for the masses—should not be swayed by money nor by any form of bribe by any politician.

It is about time that we in the electorate should also mature.  Our sense of political choice should already deviate from the usual casual reason, excuse, or alibi for choosing a person to be in the Congressional seat.  After all, going through the right and straight path (“tuwid na daan”) is not one man’s duty to his people, but everyone’s expression of care for his country.

And if that Congressperson can not even be humble enough as to answer a simple query by text from the ordinary constituent simply because he was not afforded the protocol, then the political divide between the elected elite (and pseudo-elite) and the common tao will continue to widen.

By Frencie Carreon

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