Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Vote-buying must be one of the oldest election tactics in history. As soon as one man, one vote became common practice, somebody decided that paying someone to vote a certain way was easier than making alot of campaign promises that were impossible to fulfill.

If I were unsure of the amount of vote-buying going on here in my Philippine island province before the election on 10 May, I have been provided with ample evidence of it in the two days since, as the capitol city near my home was overrun with people from the outlying areas thronging the markets, buying whatever isn't nailed down.

The amount of cash purportedly paid to every eligible voter was up to a few thousand pesos, which translates into about $50. That's alot of money for people who expect to make that much in a month. When you consider how many voters there are just on this island, it means that the candidates probably shelled out a few million pesos apiece.

Last week, Imelda Marcos, who won a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives, told a government official involved in negotiations for a settlement of the ongoing plunder case against the family, that her riches could bring an end to all poverty in the Philippines. Nobody bothered to ask her what on earth prevented her from doing so.

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