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Oct 01st
Home Columns JGL Eye Election Reforms Should Turn RP Around
Election Reforms Should Turn RP Around PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 22 October 2009 10:36





C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – Unfortunately, Filipinos look up to politics as their final destination – the Holy Grail – before they ride into the sunset.


They don’t realize that the career, where they excelled at, is already their last frontier, the be-all and end-all. I don’t see Michael Jordan, Pele or Muhammad Ali running for office.


But Manny Pacquiao? He does not need to get involved in politics anymore to make a difference. He does not need to do anything more. His legacy is now secure. All he has to do is to expand his charitable foundation and he will be able to touch and help the more-deserving poor Filipinos by sponsoring scholarships, boxers and other sports developments.


Joseph Estrada was a box-office draw, like Fernando Poe, Jr. And yet, they wanted to add dimension to their careers.


I don’t blame them. But I also want them and the rest of our career (traditional) politicians (trapos) to add dimension into Philippine politics – introduce election reforms!


They should support measures that will help political parties collect limited amount of money from voters and corporate donors to bankroll the parties’ candidates in any election. And money raised by the parties stays with the party, not with the candidates, who raised the money.


In fact, the Philippine government can even match whatever money the political parties raised to support their campaigns, like what they do here in the U.S.





R ight now, only moneyed candidates have the ability and credibility to run a national campaign. A candidate like Barack Obama would have become a nuisance candidate in Philippine presidential elections like the late Pascual Racuyal, who started running for office since Manuel L. Quezon first ran for the presidency.


Before he declared his intention to reclaim Malacañang, I posed this question to Mr. Estrada in an email: Will you support election reforms, where voters will contribute to your campaign and not the politicians doling out largess to the voters? And will you let the political parties keep these funds raised from the voters stay in the parties and not with the candidates, who raised them?


Mr. Estrada did not answer my email.


I supported Mr. Estrada in his maiden but successful quest for presidency in 1998. If he asks my support in this coming 2010 election, I will give it to him provided he will introduce election reforms, where politicians will welcome contributions from voters and corporate donors and the names and amounts of donations will be made public for transparency.


I’m sure if he wins again and if he will be able to implement this key election reform, this will be a cornerstone legacy of his presidency that will separate him from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other presidents before him.


Remember that when President Arroyo did not rebuke in public the declaration of her son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo (2nd D-Pampanga, Lakas-CMD), on GMA7’s Unang Hirit with hosts Arnold Clavio and Winnie Monsod that part of his new income came from donations during his wedding and political contributions, Mrs. Arroyo tolerated this status quo on political campaign donations.


It’s not too late, though, for Mrs. Arroyo to change her stand. She can ask her son to turn over political contributions to the political party plus interest.


After all, the reason his supporters contributed to Mikey is due to his association or affiliation with his political party. Mikey would not have succeeded in politics without the support of his party and, therefore,  Mikey had to give back to his party whatever benefits he got from his party.


But before Mikey turns over those political contributions, he has to identify the names of the donors and the amounts donated so voters would know if those donations were given to him to influence his vote for certain legislation.




By introducing election reforms in Philippine politics, Mr. Estrada and like-minded politicians will give poor but deserving politicians, like Barack Obama, a chance to become Philippine president. They will level the playing field of the Philippine landscape for both the rich and the poor.


In this way, a politician, who loses in a fair Philippine election, will find it easier to concede because the campaign expenses do not cost him his arm and a leg. This will also reduce the tension and killings during elections since politicians do not invest their lifetime savings nor mortgage their future during the campaign.


Also, corruption will be lessened because what they are spending during the campaign are not from their own personal bank account but from the party’s. A politician can no longer claim sole credit for his success.

As running for office will be more party-oriented, and less personal-oriented, if a politician makes an unwise decision based on party vote, the politician will not bear the brunt of the blame.


If elections become less personal, successful personalities, like movie and sports stars, will be less tempted to run as they no longer get the full credit of their political accomplishment.


And more politicians will be hanging up their gloves, as vindictiveness of their rivals wanes. ( # # #


C opyright 2009. The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided by the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 October 2009 12:54

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