Monthly Archives: May 2013

Seat-Warmers and Placeholders

It is election time again and I am looking for a person to buy my vote so that I know who not to vote.

This all begins in a town in Bulacan who has a clock tower in the middle. Now, I’m not saying that the town is Baliuag with the mayor as Romy Estrella but, for conveniences sake, let’s call it/he/whatev as RE. RE has been a mayor for a long time. A very long time. It is downright impossible for people to dislodge him from his entrenchment but, every three years, hope arrives. By that, I mean that the local elections. However, in the Philippines, these elections are fraught with cheating like vote buying.

Examples of vote buying include the not-so-subtle envelope containing a 500-peso bill, free tricycles rides through the polling station with the candidates’ mugshot in the inside of the tricycle and the driver claiming that this is a public service for this and that candidate/motherfucker. Another trick is to create a “birthday party” without anyone actually having a birthday. Free lunch would be served along with a Filipino favorite which is roasted pig. These acts of “generosity” could hint that the candidate would be more generous when he is (still) in power but only idiots would believe this crap.

Another thing I hate: the tricycle mafia in our town. There are so many tricycles in our town that I swear we can create a motorized infantry division in an instant if we could use these rickety junks. They also charge really high especially if they are in a line. They would charge double. Theft has never been so subtle. Simple economics would say that their prices would have dropped due to the sheer amount of competition but in the presence of another agent who takes a cut from their earnings, they can charge higher just to survive.

Today is the last day before elections. RE, due to an insane amount of time sitting on his throne, cannot run for candidacy. He then sends his son, FE, as a seat-warmer or placeholder for him for three years. This is nepotism. In cases like these, the head of the family, RE, is the actual power behind the throne and not FE. FE’s decisions would only be a reflection of his father’s will.