In My Eyes
By Edward B. Antonio
One is surely amused when he hears the word “trapo,” fellas.
Ordinarily, it denotes that piece of rag used in kitchen and carinderia tables.
Or the one you use to wipe off the dust off your vehicle.
It usually becomes brown or black as times goes by as grease and dust accumulate.
Philippine politics also have trapos or traditional politicians. And yes, some of them would gladly wipe off the dust in your leather shoes in exchange for your precious one vote during elections.
Last election time, Mang Maing was astounded one day when suddenly, a group of men and women appeared in his front yard. Ah, it was Mr. Trapo, errr… Mr. Politician. Mr. Politician’s entourage bore campaign materials with Mr. Politician’s sexy secretary holding a notebook and a ballpen.
“What are your problems here where I can help once I am elected?” he asked with a broad smile. “I will be coming back to personally see that these services are served.”
Mang Maing and his neighbors complained about the dark streets in their barangay, the narrow rough roads (which they wanted to be concreted), the many barangay barrairong who steal domestic animals and the flooded part of the barangay when strong rains come.
“Take note of them,” he barked to his secretary as he put his right around the sexy secretary’s shoulder.
That was 3 years ago, fellas.
Mr. Politician won but he never returned.
Mang Maing said not a shadow of Mr. Trapo was seen in his barangay since then. His promises are still hanging in the high heavens waiting for a savior to bring them down.
He said the streets are still dark, the roads dusty and narrow and the barrairongs became worse. That flooded part of his barangay was still flooded last rainy season.
Mang Maing told this story when I asked him what is meant by the word trapo.
“Trapos or traditional politicians are those who promise everything under the sun and would not fulfill them. They like to win but they do not like to serve faithfully. They spend a lot during campaigns but will regain all their losses plus the ‘interests’ once they ascend to power and get hold of the government coffers.”
Now, it’s election time again, fellas.
Campaign period is nigh.
Watch out for the trapos!
They will come again disguised as meek flocks of sheep complete with bribes in all forms. Will you sell your precious vote for P500, P1000 or even P2000, fellas, in exchange of another 3 years of narrow, rough roads, dark streets, barrairong-filled society etc. etc?
Here are some other definitions of the word trapo as perceived by our fellow Filipinos:
An online reactor says a politician becomes trapo if he uses sympathy (often exaggerated) to win, is indebted to the people to the point it affects his job, gives bribes under and over-the-table, practices political dynasties that don’t contribute positively, provides exceptions to the law for friends, relatives and VIPs, overprices bids so that he gets kick-backs, keeps undeclared money for himself, is unexplainably rich, participates in charities just for exposure, brags about power and perpetuates himself in power.
Maricel Maralit, Naga City: A traditional politician makes false promises, uses money to buy votes, and perpetuates himself in power. Sadly, we have lots of them in our country.
Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan: If he walks like a trapo, talks like a trapo, smells like a trapo and promises easy solutions to complicated problems, must be a certified trapo.
Dino Monzon, Caloocan City: A traditional politician is one who started serving in public office with good intentions but eventually became corrupted by power and plots to keep it. A giver of false hopes and promises.
Mandy Rillon, Cabanatuan City: A traditional politician is one greedy for power, gift of gratitude and money. Used to giving false hopes and promises, they use vast amounts of money and maximize their influence to advance their personal interests and that of their cohorts. To them, politics is their best source of money, power and influence.
Armando Tavera, Las Piñas City: A joker for being a No. 1 mambobola. What he says in front of everybody is the exact opposite of what he does at their backs.
Robert Young Jr., San Juan: Traditional politicians will promise voters anything under the sun during the campaign period, but will forget any of them after the elections.
Trapos are concerned more about their pork, takes from lobbyists, and chairmanships of committees where they earn extra millions. Trapos plan on where to travel, best place to dine the first day after they are elected. Trapos book their tickets in 5-star hotel in Las Vegas months before a Pacquiao fight. Trapos join the presidential entourage on foreign trips. Trapos don’t think of their constituent’s welfare until it’s election time again.
Trapos are liars, cheaters and thieves.
How about you, fellas?
What’s your definition of the word “trapo?”