A recent survey came out with the conclusion that its many respondents found it hard to trust the Commission on Elections. This is bad news now that the 2007 May Elections are precisely about to be held. Thus is it that fair or otherwise the people in general and the opposition candidates in particular cannot but already distrust the Commission even before it actually does it work. The eventual big loser in this sad situation is the supposedly democratic system of government in the country.
It has to be noted that the popular loss of trust on the COMELEC is its own making. There was the infamous “dagdag-bawas” phenomenon. There was also the purchase of more than a billion pesos of computers that never was. There was further the shameful and odious “Garci Tapes”. More recently, there is furthermore the reported over-printing of sensitive election materials. This is not to mention the sudden and fast burning of COMELEC itself.
And now, there is the ominous “SECRET” on the identity of the nominees of party-lists which suddenly mushroomed in number and kind. Be it according to law or simply according to the suspect understanding and application of the law, the adamant insistence of COMELEC to hide the names of the said nominees in no way makes it less untrustworthy.
The national leadership is suffering from popular distrust. Its closest allies and loyal followers are neither trusted. Add hereto the even growing distrust for the COMELEC, upon whom then would people in general repose their trust and confidence? Would it be the opposition? Would it be the activist, the left, the restive crowds?
A party list is defined by law as to the basic qualifying factor of its constituents. If the voters are not even supposed to know their own nominees, how on earth could the voters exercise their right with sense and deliberation? The block-voting of party candidates was long discarded, and here comes the COMELEC mandating the block-voting of party-lists.
These are the times that try men’s souls! People are looking forward to the elections while at the same time distrusting the government agency precisely tasked to oversee the conduct of credible elections! In this context, it would not be altogether preposterous to eventually consider secret elections of secret candidates with secret results.
Only in the Philippines!
16 April 2007