In most parts of the world, the weather makes up most of small talk.  Here in the Philippines, it’s politics.  Put together at least two strangers, usually in a public utility vehicle, stick them in traffic, and talk will invariably turn to politics.  I witnessed another classic case yesterday morning.

The FX driver struck a conversation with the two front seat passengers.  They began with which part of the city they lived in, quickly progressed to common acquaintances, then…(drum roll) local politics.  The driver mentioned the barangay elections in October.  Hmm, that was news flash for me as I wasn’t even aware that this was also barangay election year.

When asked where he votes, the male passenger said that he doesn’t vote because he no longer believes in elections.  He said, “Ang mga politiko, parang diaper yan.  Pinapalitan lang pero pareho lang ang silbi.”  The driver just chuckled.  Talk halted after a while.

When we reached Ayala Avenue, approaching the corner of Paseo de Roxas, we saw a lot of press people (including foreign press) gathered in front of a building.  There were also plenty of policemen.  They were all looking towards the westbound side of Ayala and seemed to be waiting for something or someone.  The driver and the front seat passengers resumed their conversation.

The election boycotter remarked, “Ano yan, inaabangan nila si Gloria para patalsikin?  O pinapatalsik nila si Binay?”  To which the driver replied, “Oo nga, tapos na kasi eleksyon, nanalo na, ngayon pabababain naman nila sa pwesto.  Si Binay pinapatalsik na naman ng Ombudsman.”  Then chuckles and snickers all around.

The vicious cycle of Philippine politics continues…

P.S.  As it turned out, the press people were there for the launch of the electric-powered jeepneys.  Why do we always equate a big gathering of the press on the streets with political upheaval?  Hmm…