Monday, January 23, 2006


News of charter change has been dominating the media these days. The advisory council put together by PGMA to "advice" her on constitutional change came up with this brilliant idea - change the form of government to parliamentary this year and suspend all elections until 2010. There will be a new position, the Prime Minister. But, the president is retained and most of her powers are intact. They call this the French model.

The way the current administration is bullying everybody, it will railroad this through everything. The only real blocking possibility is the Senate. Which they will probably bully with a strong showing in the plebiscite.

This plebiscite thing in itself is brilliant. The whole premise is that the consultative commission went around the country and discovered an overwhelming clamor of the local government units for the change plus suspending the elections of 2007, thus the new catch word No-el.

No-el, as in, the local governors, board members, mayors, councilors, barangay officials will automatically get a new term without spending a single centavo.

Let's go back to the plebiscite and dissect it mathematically. If you take the City of Lapu-Lapu, it will take no less than 100 million pesos to get elected as mayor these days. That is for some 120,000 registered voters. The prospective mayoral candidate will need to buy only 2/3 of the registered voters to be really sure he/she gets elected. So that translates to Php1385 per vote (cheap, ha!).

Here is the national figure: total number of voters = 43.5 million. Now, let's say you want to be really sure and decide to buy 2/3 of that. This goes down to 29 million. Based on the regular Lapu-Lapu City price, this totals 40.1 trillion pesos - different government agencies and other "contributions" will cover this easily.

But wait, here is where the plebiscite thing gets to be brilliant. They don't have an opponent in this plebiscite except for meek little militant groups and a sissy "opposition". So, the price of 1 vote can be bargained down to a third - Php 461.66. The dumb Filipino will be happy with that.

The cheap bargain price for a YES vote on the plebiscite is only 2.3 trillion pesos. (The "fertilizer fund" of the lowly Department of Agriculture was already more than 2 billion pesos).

Whoever said "I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans", I hope you turn over in your grave as many times as votes are sold and bought.