Not only is "the Presidency big business in the Philippines", but being able to have the gall to participate in the election PROCESS ITSELF AS A CANDIDATE is already big business. It puzzles many people why individuals who don't seem to have a fighting chance, based on surveys, would still opt to run. The reason is that being a candidate is already good business, win or loss.
Once a candidate gets to be among the top 3 or 4 in the running for presidency especially as the election gets closer, you are looking at Billions of Pesos pouring in from political donations. Of course, the leading candidates get more. It is like a horse race; only this time, the bettors are smugglers, gambling lords, regular government vendors, corporations that need to protect something from govt interference, etc.
I am very aware, for example, of a presidentiable who had a good chance of winning, but who knew he was going to lose. Well, his net take after expenses amounted to 400 million Pesos. He was a happy man for losing. And this is not limited to the Presidential elections. Senatorial may not be in the billions, but they are still big money. Know very well of a senatoriable who expected only 300 million in donation. To her surprise, donation went up to 700 m because she really had a fighting chance. She spent the balance of the campaign period trying to lose — why bother with the hardship of the job, when she could comfortably retire with what she already got. Her take home after election: Php 350 million.
Recall the time Erap at the start of his term put all his cabinet and other guys into an expensive stay-in seminar for one week, or was it two weeks, in Tagaytay, and journalists were asking where he was getting his money for the expensive gig. He shot back and asked why they were asking such things. He asked why they didn't know he had an excess of 200m from political donations. Well, I think he was lying; he got much, much more than 200m in excess.
This makes it really difficult to determine the motives of the candidates. Of course, they want the job because it brings more money. But, you wonder what the motives are of some of the candidates; whether they want the job, or the money they will get by just participating as mere candidates. Malinaw naman na matatalo, sumasali pa.
Election period is really the season when influence peddlers and kingmakers make big money because they get a commission for every donation they are able to solicit. One donor is out of commission this season, pahinga muna si Napoles. But, there are still many out there, both foreign and local.
No wonder Philippine election process is called one of the dirtiest. They put to shame the mafias, the syndicates and the yakuzas of the world.
I just wonder, however, with the present line-up if the traditional donors are excited. Maybe, they are also thinking now of what is good for the country and not just themselves. What with the havoc PNoy brought on institutions with KKK the only ones benefitting.
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