The grandest symptom of desperation or bankruptcy of any political group is when it pitches a bunch of so-called paper candidates specifically to key higher positions. Paper candidates, in my one definition, are those who are out of the blue just came out for electoral positions in a certain province or locality. Second, they are the candidates, though they belong to a political team, usually unknown hence having low level of support or its political clout already diminished. Well, although they have a little chance of winning, the main purpose is to make an effort to ensure that there are no cracks in their political register if not to perpetuate their existence in the local political scene and/or power in strategic areas. This is also just to keep a political group to the main track and make itself visibly relevant in one given local election by just keeping all the “blanks” filled up. Third, a paper candidate is also someone, who is not capable- physically, financially and mentally, to launch and much more appear in the fatiguing campaign sorties. Many of these candidates of sort know that their chances are nil and not that serious to win, but who are we to judge one’s intention? They are, perhaps, just helping out their party or cannot turn down their patron or any other personal reasons by allowing themselves to be candidates, thus, even to the extent of putting their names in the walk of shame later!
It is difficult to name names or accuse someone a paper candidate for nobody would admit that they belong to such category even if they are squeezed to death. But it cannot be denied that there are indeed such a candidate of sort and I am certain that their names are now included in the ballots with their respective parties. We, the voters, by the way, have no slightest idea how the candidates in general are groomed or selected.
To be positive about it, local political groupings are essential in a democracy. Democracy is unimaginable without the healthy rivalry of political groups especially during elections. Political parties in general, from the national down to the local, must have, among others, the following major functions: to formulate policies and agenda, platform of government hinged on the party’s ideology, educate public opinion geared towards the growth of the level of political consciousness of common citizens. But first and foremost, any political group has this noble task to recruit men and women of integrity to its fold as members and not those “repeaters” or those with checkered past and of doubtful repute just to “fill the gaps” in the line-up on certain election year.
There are also those opportunists joining and staying with the group for convenience and other considerations, riding on with the popularity and resources of their patrons and party heads. Sometimes they are the party vagabonds doing things in contrast to party lines. They swim against the tide or put themselves in safe position when controversial issue arises. Since they are popular among the masses, even a political nincompoop, he is still considered (and spoiled) by the team/group. The political groups that I know cannot police their ranks and those who are “policed” just move out and quickly jump to the other fence. Over and above, since party principles are is nonexistence, the most problematic area with local political groups is that they are normally tied to a particular political leader/s not to party ideals, given that such animals exist in the team.
With this emptiness in party membership and the disordered situation with regards to party loyalty in the Philippines brought about by personal agenda of certain politicians - the flip-flappers or the butterflies - I sometimes think of all out scrapping of the political parties or groups. I am so disgusted to the point I lost my trust in the mainstream political parties where party ideals and principles are deemed unimportant, if not considered pieces of garbage.
This trouble with our political party culture for me is beyond repair. Party labels, viewing from my almost displaced retina and judging from my sometimes cynical perception, especially in my province, the vicious division hatched by the two dominant political groups, have practically broken us up - as families and as communities- into political scraps.
I do not have to name them. You know very well who they are….