Campaign spending PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 September 2015 15:14

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should, by en banc resolution, increase the amount candidates can spend during campaigns. It should also determine the ceiling donors contribute to a candidate’s campaign. Congress, too, should pass a law that would bar wealthy interest individuals or groups from buying candidates or political parties. The political process should not be corrupted by billionaires, drug lords, big time smugglers and gambling syndicates.

It is so ridiculous to limit election expenses of candidates when everybody knows that John and Marsha spend over the limit. They would be lying under oath if they swore they didn’t.

Heavy donors have a large say in politics, sometimes even bigger than the politicians’. They dictate the pace of government and control the prices of prime commodities. Those writing the big checks are given unlimited access to politicos — the higher the position, the fatter the envelop.

Every candidate vying for high elective positions cheats on his/her election expense report. Todo. Some have been caught overspending and penalized with removal from office. Those caught manipulating their expenses were targets of the government. We call this selective electoral justice. Comelec, therefore, should readjust the ceiling of campaign expenses.

My gulay, everybody knows, including those who can’t read and write, that candidates spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of the elections. How much, for example, do they spend to cover the TV screens with their faces? Of course, there’s a safe clause that reads at the bottom of the ad “Paid by friends of...” That’s money bankrolled by the capitalistas, most of them Filipino-Chinese.

Let’s just stop this hypocrisy of limiting campaign expenses. First, the amount is no longer realistic, considering inflation and evaluation of the peso. How much is a kilo of rice now, sardines and packed noodles? Second, politicians, big and small, spend a considerable amount of money to ensure victory. There’s no such animal as a “miracle candidate” anymore. Cesar C. Climaco was the last of those who used candies and pansit, instead of oodles of money, to win.

Next year’s local election will be all about money and character. It will be a referendum for both Mrs. Climaco-Salazar and Mr. Celso L. Lobregat. This will be the first and probably the only time (granting for the sake of argument that they clash for the coveted City Hall seat) voters will have a clear say and pass judgement on the performance and achievements of both personalities.

Mrs. Climaco-Salazar’s heavy infrastructure projects like opening of new roads, concrete-paving of rotten streets and building homes for the homeless threaten to overwhelm Mr. Lobregat’s long list of sterling accomplishments the past 17 years such as the bus terminal and old public market upliftment, not to mention his main tourist attraction — Paseo del Mar.

The voters’ verdict come May, 2016, will be unequivocal. Their attention would veer away from the BBL and will be focused on the track records of both the mayor and Mr. Lobregat in improving infrastructure and what we already have and, most importantly, economic growth.

However, none of the above political scenario will happen until LITTLE SISTER returns from China. This clash of the titans will be resolved, or left to flourish, after we observe the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar. That’s after they have offered candles and prayers to seek a revelation or a sign from heaven. Corny, man.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 September 2015 15:16