Making Marcos an underdog

THERE'S a great number of wannabes for the Senate, and most of them, I know, are there just for the money. Santa Banana, they know they cannot make it even in their wildest dreams. Still they're running.

Why? It's for the "funds" of it, which briefly means that even if they lose, they come out winners because of the money they solicit from friends and the usual campaign contributors.

Take the case of somebody I know who is running for the Senate. This person certainly won't make it, but is still running as he did in 2010 and 2013. He makes the rounds of his friends, being a former public official, and the usual campaign contributors.

If, for instance, he visits 10 of his friends and the usual election suckers (pardon the language), shell out P20,000 to P30,000 just to get rid of him, my gulay, that's a bundle!

At the end, this wannabe goes laughing all the way to his bank, still very much a winner.

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A number of human rights victims during the Martial Law years have vowed to stalk Senator Bongbong Marcos, who is running for vice president, to remind the people of the atrocities perpetuated under the dictatorship of his late father. They are hoping the people won't forget the suppression of civil and human rights some 30 years or so ago.

I can understand the sentiments of these human rights victims. But why heap the blame on Bongbong, the dictator's son, who was not part of it? Should the sins of the father be inflicted on the son?

Bongbong, as candidate for the second-highest post of the land, is certainly qualified for the job, having been governor of Ilocos Norte, congressman, and now senator. His record in the Senate speaks for itself, especially on a controversial issue like the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

And not surprisingly, the youth, ages 18 to 30, are also for Bongbong.

This group of Martial Law rights victims should be warned against making Bongbong an underdog in the vice presidential race. This may just make him the candidate to beat.

The fact that Bongbong is now tied, according to the latest poll survey, with erstwhile frontrunner Senator Francis Escudero is enough proof of his following in the Solid North, vote-rich Pangasinan, the National Capital Region, some Tagalog provinces, Eastern Visayas and Mindanao.

As a journalist who has been in the industry for 66 years now, I believe that what we need is a leader to move the country forward through the healing of political wounds. If we keep on reminding ourselves of sins of the past, we can never move forward as a nation.

Having said that, I'll go for the candidate for president and vice president who will make unity a priority. To me, the vindication of the Marcoses with Bongbong as vice president is just the first step.

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That there will be cheating in the coming elections is a given. Even the people nationwide expect cheating this coming elections with 39 percent-four out of 10 people-according to poll surveys.

There are many forms of cheating. The most predominant of these is vote-buying. Even here in Metro Manila, local candidates buy votes costing as much as P3.50 to P5 per vote. To be a mayor in Metro Manila, one should be prepared to spend as much as the cost per vote has now gone up as high as P4 to P6 per vote. This means that to be a mayor, one has to spend between P500 million and P700 million. To be a senator, the cost could go up to as much as P900 million.

In the provinces, to be a governor with the hope of winning the elections, the cost can go up as much as P800 million. Santa Banana, with elections getting more expensive every three years, graft and corruption in government will never be eradicated.

Another form of cheating is through the manipulation of the "hokus-PCOS" or the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines on source and especially through transmission. There is persistent talk that this happened during the 2010 and 2013 polls, mostly done by the Little Garcis at the Comelec.

There's not much we can do about vote-buying because in many places in the country, there are always people who wait for political leaders whom to vote for. These are the impoverished people who look upon political leaders to meet their daily needs.

It is these political leaders who deliver the votes for candidates who are able to produce the funds. This is the reason a well-funded grassroots machinery is essential.

Political strategists will attest to this fact-it all boils down to money.

Another form of cheating is harassment of voters in places where there is opposition to a certain candidate, and that candidate, with the help of the police and goons, prevents people from going to the precincts to vote.

This usually happens when voting places are far from where the voters live. This is usually made by incumbent public officials with the police on their side. In some cases, even the military are used by powerful politicians.

While a great number of people expect a credible, honest and fair elections, it's really impossible to stop cheating. Blame it all on the system where only the elite and the rich can win elections, and why political dynasties exist. The people themselves have made this so.

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Ping Lacson, a former senator and once chief of the Philippine National Police during the Erap Estrada administration says that the claim of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Du-dirty" that if elected president, he could rid the country of criminals and illegal drugs within six months is not doable.

I can believe Lacson.

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