by: June Salomon Radi
Calls for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan is escalating and made by many sectors including the Catholic church. It has been proven that the sanggunian is made a training ground for corruption, teaching young minds the “art” of corruption in government.
The recently concluded election was just a glaring example of the corruption cited. Massive vote buying was just like a norm rather than an exception and people in government who were supposed to uphold the rule of law rather took it aside, were those that led the buying and assisted the vote buyers and applauded the takers and sellers, not forgetting the buyers, for making their crimes easily pulled off.
The media on the other hand made it frenzy on the airwaves, every elections, it has become a laughing matter rather than an issue to be addressed and done away.
Here are true instances of the corruption, call it your way bit I would rather call it such:
In one barangay, there were two candidates for the SK top post, and there were only 3 voters. It is true because only 5 of them qualified the age bracket while others were not interested to register. One of the registrants support one candidate while the other supports the second contender leaving only one that would make or break their ambitions. The first candidate offered the voter (P20,000) cash through his parents but the other offered him a brand new motorcycle. Well, obviously, the motorcycle was the option.
Another barangay instance was grand, the total voters were around 200 and there were two contenders. The other was the son of the incumbent punong barangay, the other was a kin of a moneyed politician. Two days before the elections, around 80 voters were herded, taken from their families one after the other so as not to create a commotion and kept it a silent maneuver, and they successfully kept the voters at bay in a resort which was an hour away from their place of residence, like they were on vacation, swimming, eating and karaoke the whole duration. On the day of the elections, they were taken to the precincts in a group of 5 and all of them were given money before departure. The maneuver succeeded and who could say there was nothing wrong with it?
Another instance happened in two barangays, I only knew two and it is possible that it happened in many others. The result was, in these two barangays, there was only one candidate, unopposed. They were unopposed because the would be contenders were offered cash so as to discourage them from running, and they backed out The term discourage was used because the cash went with a threat. Spell it as you like, the threat.
Another instance was the bidding gone bad. The other party went to his opponent offered him P30,000. The former was insulted and replied, they could counter offer 100,000 also asking the first offeror to back out. It became a war of money and the first offeror did not know the Art of War as written by Chairman Mao Tse Tung that in order to win the war, one must “know his enemy”.
The night before the elections, if you went to the Rotonda, one cold that late night there were around 50 teenagers, sitting around the fence of the horse back riding areas in their jackets and near them was a ten wheeler truck parked, it was theirs as the others did not disembark and stayed in the open truck, resting, sleeping, talking. I asked one of them as I went passed them and she replied “hakot SK”.
The National Organization of the SK was not spared as the present National President who is an ex oficio member of the National Youth Commission is hounded by graft charges at the Office of the Ombudsman, at a very young age.
The law which created the SK which is the Local Government Code (RA 7160) I am certain was made with good intentions. It is the implementing arm of the law which made it evil, though many camps would say that the law was created with a lot of loopholes. Never have I heard of a perfect law, the Congress was blind as the law was there for more than 2 decades and not one dared to amend it for the better , and again, a lot of SK elections already went their ways.
The SK further widened the opportunity for political dynasties which is another thing that Congress has failed to define and address through an enabling law prohibiting political dynasties as stated in the 1987 Constitution. They never dared to address political dynasty as the lawmakers themselves violated it, the laws of morality and conscience. They themselves are from various dynasties and prohibiting political dynasties is for them, political suicide.
These victors of the recent SK polls were taught in their early lives how corruption works, and for sure, they themselves would constitute the people who will make this country fall deeper into debt and embarrassment, more corruption and cancer of society as Rizal pointed out.
With all these, I am hoping that Congress would address this scare of society. But on second thoughts, would they address the abolition of the SK when the SK officialdom is composed of their children, brothers, sisters, family members? I would rather wait and see.