The Philippine national and local elections are fast approaching. With all the problems our country is facing, i.e., poverty, malnutrition, high unemployment rate, lack of infrastructures, and traffic congestion, we cannot afford to elect corrupt leaders, especially a corrupt head of the state.
A corrupt politician isn’t only someone who steals the money of the people but corruption also has many other forms that many people don’t realize. A corrupt leader could also be someone who corrupts his promises, duties, responsibilities, and the trust that the public is giving him or her.
The future of our children depends on our votes. Once again, political aspirants will come to us like job applicants wanting to be hired. Don’t make a mistake and hire the wrong ones. Here are 11 ways to identify if a political aspirant is corrupt or not.
1. Do a background check.
Just like an employer who’s hiring new employees, do background checks on the candidates. Research their previous jobs and evaluate their past performance. Examine their family relationship – is the politician a good husband, a good wife or a good parent? Moreover, ask their character references or the people who know them, such as their previous constituents or previous staff.
2. Audit the net worth.
Unexplained wealth is one of the signs of political corruption. To detect such, review the statements of assets and liabilities that they filed to the Office of Ombudsman (for President and Vice President), Secretary of the Senate (for Senators) and Secretary of the General of the House of Representatives (for Congressmen). If the net worth of a politician has increased significantly and questionably during his term as a government official, then be skeptical. You can also search Google for news of unexplained wealth reported by the Commission on Audit.
Read this article to learn more about SALN and how to request it.
3. Check their promises or platforms.
Corrupt politicians don’t have a sincere intention and detailed plans to help our country. Their intention is to scam us. Thus, evaluate their promises or platforms if they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and trackable). If a politician’s promises are too good to be true, expect that his political undertaking will be a scam. Power!
Know the platforms of some presidentiables by accessing their official Facebook pages listed in this article.
4. Check if the politician loves to enlighten or not.
Remember that corrupt people are afraid of light and they love to hide in the dark. If the politician is afraid of facing the allegations against him and is fond of leaving the people with unanswered questions, then you should continue doubting.
5. Know the entities surrounding the politician.
Determine if the politician is a puppet or not. Puppets don’t have independence. They are controlled by a few people or organizations whom they have debt of gratitude. These entities are actually the ones who finance their campaign expenses. When these politicians win, they serve those entities in return rather than the public. These entities include rich individuals, big companies, and powerful political parties.
6. Determine if the politician is wasting time or not.
Time is also money. We, the taxpayers, are paying our government officials for their time to work and serve us well. If the politician has done nothing productive during his term as a government official, then he just wasted our time, our taxes, and our money. And that’s also a form of corruption.
7. Find out his or her faith.
Corrupt people put their faith in money. They rely too much on money to get what they want. Corrupt politicians think that they can buy anyone and anything, including you and your vote. They think that they can buy the media, the law enforcers and even the higher courts. If a politician relies too much in his money to win the election, then be warned.
8. Identify broken promises.
The past affects the present and future. Check the promises made by the politician in the past if they were fulfilled. Remember that lying is addicting. Hence, never ever vote for a leader who’s addicted to lying and fooling people.
9. See if the politician knows how to show respect.
How can we know if a certain politician is respectful or not? Well, it’s easy. Remember that respect begets respect. If a leader doesn’t respect people, the people will not also respect him in return. Hence, if you see a politician who can hardly earn respect from the people, then it could be a sign that he is not respectful in the first place. Furthermore, be warned with politicians who are too “epal”. It could be a sign that they don’t have any respect left for themselves.
Visit this Anti-Epal Campaign Page on Facebook to understand what epal is.
10. Feel if the politician has compassion or not.
Corrupt leaders are numb. They can’t feel the pain of other people. To know if a politician is compassionate or not, observe how he responds and acts when Filipinos are in despair due to calamities or enduring problems like brownouts and heavy traffic. There are some who are quick to offer help but only show up for their own interest, without providing long-term solutions. It takes a heart of stone to commit corruption. Hence, if you can’t feel any softness inside a politician’s heart, think again
11. Analyze if the politician is traditional or innovative.
Alas, corruption is already a tradition in the Philippine political arena. That is why the term “trapo” or traditional politician is somehow already synonymous to a corrupt politician. Thus, to identify a possible corrupt leader, know if he’s just another trapo or he’s a game changer. You can smell the aura of a traditional politician because there is too much politics in him. On the other hand, an innovative politician is a person of action and change.
The ways above are only tips to uncover signs of corruption among politicians. However, they do not warrant absolute detection of corruption. Nevertheless, they can still provide us useful information that will make us wise and informed voters this coming elections.
This article might have taken a negative approach, but it is how auditors and examiners work. So don’t be a clueless citizen. Be aware and be vigilant! Make the right choice for the brighter future of our nation!