Once again the government is making calls to the youth to register for the SK Elections. Elections has been the constant political menu dished out time after time after time to nourish the citizenry with empty hopes. Empty hopes vis-a-vis the people’s dream to savor a better condition of existence or a more comfortable life.

Too early has the banner of deception been flown. Too early in their teens have the youth been weaned from pure idealism to an adoption of a faulty political consciousness or an anomalous social awareness.   Yes, they have been promptly taught and made to practice a system of politics premised on a crooked framework. What has been rammed down their throats are ways that glorify the modus operandi called “patronage politics”.

What is this thing called patronage politics? This is a system whereby a politician—be he an apprentice or a full-fledge politician—is made a political ward or protégée of a well-to-do patron, also rightly called a godfather.  It is this patron who catapults the fledgeling politician to the political atmosphere. He spends for his candidacy, endorses his candidacy, provides all the wiles and tricks for his success in elections and in other political exercises. And the politician is beholden to his patron, not unlike a dog to his master.

And we—amidst our feigned ignorance or unconcerned—are very much aware of the modus operandi of patronage politics—deception, bribery, terrorism—but do not so much as lift a finger to deal with it and fight it. And so, it has stayed with us for already 68 years!

Now, this SK Elections are meant to train young people to glorify the system of patronage politics! To refine it to its bizarre perfection! And the outcome of all these?   O there will emerge, as surely as mushrooms sprout after the April thunderstorm, into the political arena a politico eloquent in the ways of deceit and hypocrisy—he will have become veritable movie artist. He will have acquired dexterity in vote-buying and bribery and harassments—in short, he will have attained perfection in the art of “patronage politics”. He can now be relied upon as a guardian or protector of the Status Quo. And because of such transformation in his character as a person, he is also now adept in the “art of corruption”.

Electoral exercise is an intrument of a politico in his climb upwards on the political ladder. It could be that he starts from the lowest rung—perhaps as a barangay captain, or as a city councilor or a vice-mayor. But his eyes are always trained upwards to the mayoralty position, and upward still to the governorship or a congressional seat! Soon he becomes a senator. And lastly, as President of the Philippines.   However, there are those who can start at the top, vying for top electoral posts. And blessed are they, for they are scions or members of alta sociedad –the elite in Philippine society. Or they are part of the ruling class, such as the Roxases, the Osmenas, Aquinos, Cojuangcos, etcetera.

And whereas the politico’s fate has always been a constant rise on the ladder of political fortune, the masses of the people who constantly vote for him have permanently remained in the mire of penury and misery.

In the patronage system, the politico’s eyes are focused always on the elections. As a matter of fact, his so called public service gravitates around the elections—that is, how to win in the next elections.   Aware that elections are always won by him who has the most money, so one must prepare in strict adherence to this equation.  He must “make hay” while in office. And the only way is by a conscious schema of graft and corruption.

Aside from graft and corruption the politico must not lose sight of deceptive stratagems—all sorts of devices that would make the electorate believe he is the man to choose. He invents projects and measures that appear at first sight to be beneficial, but whose longterm effect, if scrutinized thoroughly, would redound to the detriment of society, or would in fact worsen the miserable plight of the people. President Noynoy’s Oplan Bayanihan and 4Ps programs are good examples of such deceitful schemes.

Verily, elections are often brandished as the people’s hope for the solution of their sad economic plight. And so, even long before the electoral season—years ahead of election time — the politicos, especially those in power, like the current regime of President BS Aquino, are already upgrading their political weaponry. All these preoccupations are to insure their hold-on to power. Similar feverish preparations are waged by those who wish to grab state power, like the camp of Binay and the rest. But their body language do not differ much from each other.

Preparatory propaganda offensives by this and that politico are analogous to a chef’s preparations of new recipes for a coming fiesta celebration. He invents never-yet-tried recipes that would be loved by his gourmet guests, no matter that they may lack nutrients or are outright bereft of needed healthful substance. Or may even be harmful to the guests’ health.

And this SK Elections intended for the youth of the land is part and parcel of the deceptive political devices of politicos as guardians of the Status Quo. By mentoring the youth as neophyte politicos of the modus operandi of Patronage Politics, the ruling class in our society is assured of perpetuating the ideological-political props of a pseudo-democracy. The youth as students of patronage politics are lured into a political trap.

Now and again, the Youth need to be aware of the nature of the incumbent political system that brandishes elections as an instrument of development and progress. The Youth should be conscious of the reality of the leadership of charlatan politicos that dominate Philippine politics under this system of patronage politics. They should be educated with the genuine ideals of political leadership—one which is directed towards the liberation of the nation from age-old poverty and underdevelopment.   They should be enlisted as activists for Change, not as police dogs of the obnoxious Status Quo.

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