A Filipino voter

Thu, 04/29/2004 - 00:00

reprinted from her blog

I was with some friends last night, one of whom is a staunch supporter of Roman Romulo, Congressional candidate in Pasig City and son of Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo. Asked why her entire family was supporting Romulo, she answered unabashedly, "Because he can help my family." I did not find it necessary to pursue the point but my husband was persistent.

"Will it make a difference to the residents of Pasig City who wins?", he asked her.

"No," she answered, "but he can help my father with his business concerns."

My husband said, "Then you're voting based on vested interests."

"Of course," she said.

At that point, I wanted to go home. She is a very close friend and I did not My husband and our other friend were sarcastic. How many of those gowns and jewelry were bought with pork barrel funds? they asked her. But she was a jolly good-natured girl.want to get into a heated political discussion especially about the principled aspect of voting. I could feel my face burning and I wanted to get out of there fast.

But another friend picked up my husband's argument. And so it went on. She brought out a cardboard fan, a campaign paraphernalia of Romulo. She wanted to show us how he looked and what his "accomplishments" were. I obliged and read what were written in it.

I said, "But he has no accomplishments in public service. It is his father's accomplishments that are enumerated here. He cannot take credit for those."
"None yet," she said, "but he will when he wins."

She then took out a coffee table book given her mother by Romulo. It featured the wives of senators and Congressmen in all their finery--designer gowns and drop dead jewelry.

My friend was definitely starstruck. She was drooling over them.

My husband and our other friend were sarcastic. How many of those gowns and jewelry were bought with pork barrel funds? they asked her. But she was a jolly good-natured girl.

I stood up and started saying goodbye. But she insisted we all stay; she wanted to show us the rest of the book--Margie Moran Floirendo, 1973 Miss Universe and wife of a Davao congressman, and actress Rio Diaz, wife of Charlie Cojuangco.

Someone commented, "What has Charlie Cojuangco done? During his terms, how many months was he out of the country having his wife treated for cancer? That may make him a good husband but hardly a good congressman."

We went home a few minutes later.

At home, I commented to my husband, "I'm depressed. She (referring to our friend) is a well-educated woman, as her entire family is. Yet, that is the way they see elections. How many Filipinos think like that?"

He smiled and said, "People will always differ."

I have no strength to relay the earlier discussion about the presidential candidates

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