Who is the Traditional Politician (trapo)

Election is once again very near and a lot of politicians are doing their best campaigning to win a seat in the government. The word "trapo" is one of the most used word during elections, it stands for traditional politicians. In my province, it means a used cloth to wipe away dirt or dust, the word also describes dirty politicians.

I believe most Filipinos are aware of these kind of politicians, in fact, majority of the national position in the country are mostly occupied by traditional politicians and their families.

But, what is a trapo?

I have searched and gathered meanings of what really defines a traditional politician in the Philippines. If you are aware of pinoy politics, these criteria s may apply to some of our current politicians. These are my definitions


We have a saying when selecting a candidate politician, choose the one who is "least evil". The reason is, probably we have accepted the fact that all politicians are corrupt. Our country's corruption problem is bad, and it seems there is no solution to it. Even the government branch who suppose to be auditing the peoples money has no power against corrupt officials. The worst part is, almost none has been convicted of corruption so far. A corrupt official is the main image of a traditional politician.

Expanding its own political dynasty

In the Philippines, politics is business because it is the easiest way to become wealthy. To keep the wealth running in the family, a traditional politician shares its power to his wife, siblings, brother in law and even to its grandson by running and keeping the power to themselves.

A perfect example is the family Ampatuan, they rule mostly of Maguindanao from congressmen, governors down to barangay chairman, they control all political power in the province. Despite poor performance by the family, people still vote for them because of money and influence, in short the people of Maguindanao has no choice.

If you notice, majority of the Senatorial candidates came from the same family. The Estrada's, Aquino's, Enrile's, Binay's etc are forming a dynasty in the Senate. For more than a decade these family dynasty's still rule Filipino politics, national and local.

I bill has been written to stop political dynasty, but I don't believe it will become a law, because almost 93% of the politicians in the congress and senate has their own dynasty.

Overspends during campaign period

I believe there are a lot of qualified Filipinos to lead this country, but the main problem is influence and money. During campaign period a politician spends millions of pesos just to win, because they knows that when they win a seat in the government, taking back the money they spent during election is very easy.

A traditional politician usually pay famous celebrities to do their campaigning and appear on TV to do some cheesy advertisements. The theme is usually using the poor as a weapon for their advertisements to win the hearts of many Filipinos and get enough votes to win.

No clear platform

I remember an interview with Jinggoy Estrada on Bandila maybe about 3 years ago, a caller asks what bill he had made and passed during his term, and Mr. Senator just asked next question please, "walang personalan naman". For me it was an embarrassment, because he had no clear platform during his campaign and hasn't even done a single thing in the Senate.

Their political name and fame out shadows their platform that is why even without a concrete plan for the country, they still win.

During last election, ANC made a presidential debate and sadly some of them can't answer questions directly and even can't follow a very simple instructions. Is that our future leaders? can't even follow simple guidelines. On that debate, ex President Joseph Estrada was just fooling around and didn't understand the questions given to him, but still he ranked second behind President Noynoy Aquino.

I felt hopeless for our voters...

Thanks to late former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo's blog I found what other people think of a traditional politician:
  •  Has too many body guards.
  • Always late in an occasion, felt like a VIP or something.
  • Those who buy votes just to win.
  • Using the same campaign speech all over again.
  • Using "wang wang" or siren when they travel to avoid traffic.
  • Only appears when election is near.
  • Rides the fame of other politicians to gain exposure.
  • Using money to gain fame and attention.

These are the traditional politicians, although their gimmick is already used and obvious, they still rule this country. It is hard to erase poverty because they are being used by the poor sector who will do anything just to feed their family. And it is also the poor who are given the most attention during campaign period, but after they win they are the most forgotten.

I made this article to show my dismay over our political system, this is just an opinion in my part. I know you have yours.

Did I miss something? lets start a healthy discussion

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