Politics is heating up
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
As we were working on this issue, I called up a politician in Mountain Province to know the latest political scenario there. He assured me, as all politicians do, that his chances are very good. He said, over the years we have grown a good number of political roots that are now deep into the political ground. “Even if we can’t brag of hundreds of millions in our war chest, we are looking at a bright light at the end of the tunnel,” he continued.
Well, I thought, “How did we come this far down the spiral of corruption? Now, politicians are talking of hundreds of millions of pesos to have a fair chance at landing political positions. If we the voters are not readily corrupted, our politicians will not be talking of such amounts.”
While I was pondering these thoughts, a contractor close friend came a calling. As we engaged in casual talk over some cups of coffee, he told the story how he started undertaking small contracts in Baguio City worth one or two million. He is now in the slightly bigger league of contractors. He had been undertaking projects in the tens of millions of pesos.
Then he ventured into his fears when he was still a small contractor. He said that the incumbent mayor, Mauricio G. Domogan, never asked for SOP or grease money, and he could not believe it knowing that other politicians would pressure contractors to shell out UP FRONT about 10% of the value of projects before contractors are awarded these. But his doubts lingered. He thought, may be the pressure to shell out might come when he would be undertaking bigger projects. Now that he is a bigger contractor, he was expecting the pressure to shell out and he had been expecting it the past years. But nothing. Even up to now.
He wants this situation to remain, no corruption as to government projects. So he will be campaigning hard for Mauricio G. Domogan for congressman of Baguio City. As he said in Ilocano, “Nakitak piman nga malinis. Matakderak data.” (I have seen how clean he was regarding government projects. I can vouch for him.)
This friend of mine is an unassailable source of such information.
Well, I was never a contractor but I have seen and heard so many things about the corruption of politicians. Unless I hear from a reliable source of information to the contrary, I have to believe this very good friend of mine.
Then out talk strayed into stories from other contractors. He confirmed some talks that a local politicians is now hated or reviled by local contractors. He had been bragging that he would not interfere with the awarding of government contracts. But in no time, he was into it. Not only him, his wife and his child would respectively visit contractors at different times to pressure them to shell out some grease money. So the contractors have to shell out three times. The result? Very substandard quality of projects.
Incidentally,there is now an effort to unite the two candidates for congressman in Baguio City—Nick Aliping and Mauricio G. Domogan. Both have staunchly loyal supporters. If the people behind this move will not be successful, incumbent Congressman Mark Go would certainly have a better chance of being reelected. But still, it appears that Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan is still the man to beat having been in the political arena the longest among the aspirants.
If Nick Aliping will agree to instead support Domogan, the result of the election would be a forgone conclusion. But this supposition is very iffy.
Indeed, we are living in interesting times.