One of the clearer and more vivid phenomena that openly and shamelessly emerged on the occasion of the last midterm elections was vote buying par excellence. It was gross and rampant. It was done by practically all mentioned political candidates with impunity and in style. It was made in retail by buying one voter after another. It was also done in wholesale by buying the canvassers themselves. The votes became costlier as the elections drew nearer. The cost was at its peace in the eve of the election day.
Vote buying has been the odious distinctive mark of the past elections. There were killing and other forms of violence here and there. There were the usual private armies and goons employed by certain politicos. But vote buying was tops in flagrancy and while vote buying was the common accusation brought to the COMELEC by contending traditional politicians, it is well expected that no one will be really penalized for it.
It is during the tenure of the present administration that more and more people sell their votes. There is no cause for one to wonder why. Notwithstanding all claims and pretensions of socio-economic development and prosperity by Malacañang, poverty, hunger and sickness have become more real and pronounced all over the land. As it is well said, empty stomach like empty sacks. Have no ears.
The government sells Filipino workers for foreign employs—to the extent of even planning to trade the so called “supermaids”. Not few women and children are selling their bodies to both buying tourists and locals. There are even individuals selling their own kidneys to ready buyers. No wonder then that votes are likewise sold. There are even those who claim that they sold their votes to as many buyers as possible--willing to pay for them along the norm of the highest bidder.
Never mind human dignity. Human rights are of no consequence. One cannot eat freedom of choice. Democracy is farce. What is real and true are cold cash, needed groceries and rice. These are the reasons of those who sold their votes readily and willingly. And rampant vote selling during the last elections was but a solid confirmation of likewise rampant poverty, hunger and sickness in the country.
And one has all the reasons to expect that the redemption of the country from its pronounce poverty and deep want, can be anything but in the near future—not specially during the tenure of the incumbent Malacañang occupant whose main preoccupation is political survival. Let the people wait. They are anything but a priority of the present government.
18 May 2007