How to Win a Government Seat in the Philippines

1. Be a member of the oligarchy or a political dynasty. If you’re Filipino, you already know the names. Chances of winning with this method is very high. The Aquinos, the Marcoses, and the Estradas are some of the names that come to mind.

2. Make a name for yourself in showbiz and be involved in a lot of publicity (positive or negative doesn’t matter). In the Philippines, politics is the next step in the career path of has-been actors and actresses. The odds of winning range from about 50% to near 100% with this tactic. The most successful example is Joseph Estrada.

3. Attend the Philippine Military Academy, launch a coup d’etat, surrender to the government, obtain amnesty, and then campaign for a senate seat. You gain a good chance of winning with this tactic not because of perceived competence but of notoriety and the ability to pull people towards a “cause” of some sort. Classic example is Honasan but the latest example is Trillanes.

4. Be the leader of an activist group. Perhaps this provides about a 50/50 chance of winning. It doesn’t really matter what cause you are pushing as long as you are noisy and you complain a lot on national TV. The commies come to mind.

5. Have loads and loads of money to spare. This tactic is very useful for converting voters from opposing camps to your side. This tactic can greatly improve the odds of winning because of the greedy nature of the Pinoy voter. A common tactic amongst political aspirants, almost everybody running for office uses this tactic.

6. Have actual competence and a proven track record in public service. This tactic does not guarantee a win. Dick Gordon is one of those rare individuals who can win an election because of this.

So, as you can see, because of the damaged society that is the Philippines, the described tactics, with the exception of #6, can guarantee a seat in government. A government seat in the Philippines is considered to be a mountain of gold. No wonder why there are many Pinoys who groom themselves and their children for public office, despite the fact that competence is not amongst their list of “redeemable” qualities. I have to recognize the fact that these politicians have a degree of intelligence in that they exactly know how to manipulate the Filipino into getting them elected.

And so, you can expect to see another three years of mediocrity, nothingness, and chaos after May 13, where people follow the lives of politicians as if they were watching their mind-numbing soap operas.

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