NEWS: Indirect vote-buying, bottom-heavy campaign machineries being formed by politicians

By Al Rosero. Rural Urban News

april 15

A patronage-driven bottom-heavy electoral campaign machineries are being formed by top guns in various political parties and slates- mostly reelectionist governors, congressmen or mayors or wealthy outsider candidates- aimed to ensure their victory appears to be the order of the day in the region, a political consultant-analyst told Rural Urban News on the condition of anonymity.

“This political technology has been there as old as the vote buying strategy,” said a Davao City-based consultant-analyst who has been in the business of political consultancy to politicians in the region every time there is election.

“This type of machinery is fueled by the spoils of the incumbents or monies of rich candidates. It makes alive old patronage politics. It’s actually an indirect vote-buying scheme-cum-machinery, but it’s seen as legit as weekly allowances are doled out like election-generated, temporary livelihood to thousands of campaigners starting from the start of the campaign,” he said.

The machinery has usually two layers of campaign leaders- the barangay campaign leaders (BCL) or the barangay campaign teams (BCT) coordinators, who manage the purok campaign leaders (PCL) or the purok campaign teams (PCT).

The start of the official campaign period for local candidates was also the start of the giving of their weekly allowances/honoraria.

To save by not targetting the whole universe of voters, politicians in the know target only to fund the number of campaign leaders who could deliver at least half of the total number of electorate.

Among incumbents, they make barangay captains, although supposedly non-partisan during elections, to play the role as the barangay cashiers who distribute the “pooled, chipped-in” campaign funds from the congressmen and governors or with some participation of the usually rich or corrupt mayors.

Depending on the degree the incumbents are politically threatened by rivals in the election and on a case-to-case basis, candidate governors and candidate congressmen chip in for the total war chest for the machinery on agreed percentage or amount to come up with the weekly allowances for the campaigners, with the mayor also chipping in if he is moneyed. If he is not, the governors and congressmen come to his rescue.

“This is the old, tested formula for sure election victory. The machinery goes berserk rampaging our electoral system while the Church which calls for clean elections every election time could not certainly finger point this as bad or vote buying considering the ‘livelihood’ given to the campaigners,” the political consultant-analyst said.

“With the weekly campaign allowance, campaigners would have a hard time turning their backa to the candidates who give them cash weekly,” he added.

The barangay captains either play as the “liners” or they act as overall barangay campaign managers and distribute the weekly campaign allowances to the BCLs or BCT leaders, the “liners”, who will in turn distribute the shares of the purok leader-campaigners.

In Compostela Valley , reports said that the weekly allowance for each of the BCLs was already pegged at P500 weekly while PCLs at P250 each.

BCLs and PCLs in District 1 alone have already been organized and briefed on their role of maintaining sure ten voters for each while the BCLs manage, closely monitor and give weekly allowances to the PCLs.

At 1:10 ratio, purok campaigners- otherwise known as the kabos- cajole, convince, or promise for sum of money during election time to his ten voters. At this ratio, if the town has 40,000 voters, the 2,000 purok campaigners can easily deliver 20,000 voters, the half of the total number of voters.

“This is our command voters, which can already trigger a bandwagon to influence the swing voters of sectors and the market voters of undecided, professionals or intelligent,” he said.

Reports further said that for PCLs alone, Maragusan has 2,300, New Bataan has 1,200, Montevista has 1,200, Compostela has 1,800, and Monkayo has 2,800, or a total of 9,300 PCLs. At P250 allowance per week, the funding requirement is P2,325,000 per week or P16,275,000 for 7 weeks covering the whole duration of campaign period until the election day.

“That’s excluding the funds for direct vote buying, and if funds flow until election day, rivals to this formidable, well-oiled machinery are real losers as the machinery becomes effective conduits through which vote buying among mass of voters is effectively coursed through,” he said.

“There’s pyrrhic, costly victory always in here, but it’s nonetheless a victory for payback time when the doling candidates already sit on public office, and they have to corrupt and save again from stolen money for the next election,” he said. (Al Rosero/Rural Urban News)

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