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Of Elections And Political Patronage

February 28, 2009


Filipino politicians imbued with a ‘public service gene’, a calling, if you will, are never in short supply.

This is why it’s common to hear that in the Philippines the political season outlasts both the summer and the rainy season or that the campaigning for the next balloting begins right after the previous political exercise.

There’s also a joke that if you really hate someone egg him or her to run for public office.

But wait.

There’s a new formula: run under the ticket of the government of the day and win or lose you’re still guaranteed a job.

This ‘truism’ appears to have been validated in how the members of GMA’s Team Unity Ticket in the 2007 mid-term senatorial elections have fared.

To be sure the personalities identified, at least most of them, have the requisite qualifications and deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt that they will do well in their post election-loss assignments.

That the public through the news media is keeping tabs on just where the ex members of Team Unity are now can’t be helped as public and not private money is being spent in the agencies to which the unelected have been posted.

Which is also why the perceived positive, and negative, aspects of political patronage in the Filipino context are greeted  with much scepticism if not derision.

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