The ghost of the “Hello Garci” tapes simply refuses to go away, to be laid to rest. The scandalous phenomenon brought forth such one big evil spirit that this continues to haunt the election process in the country—especially the now sitting national leadership. Truth to say, elections in the Philippines were never really that peaceful, orderly and credible. But the national electoral process became worse in honesty and integrity with the ominous advent of the “I am sorry” confession with much doubted sincerity.
Three long years have passed. Another national election took place. It was held 14 May last. More than a month has already passed. Yet, all those who really won or lost are not yet known, much less proclaimed. One of the over-riding causes can be traced to the existing of a close kin of “Hello Garci” in the form of some kind of an “Hello Bedi” event.
The central figure in this electoral disaster may be innocent or guilty of electoral fraud—until otherwise pronounced by the proper court of the land. But that notwithstanding, the ridiculous disappearance and appearance of both the original COCs and the Comelec official concerned are anything but a tribute to the electoral system in the Philippines.
There must be a better way of knowing the real will of the electorate, of determining the true winners of elective positions. There must be a more bearable way of having the votes counted, posted and accepted. In a word, there must be a genuinely dependable and trustworthy Comelec.
Three short years from now a rather significant as well as critical national election process is scheduled—unless national leadership so behaves that something unprogrammed and unforeseen destroy the schedule. Would that the 2010 elections be definitely much better not only in reality but also in the perception of the general public.
It is not perhaps realistic to ask and expect a perfect electoral process in terms of saintly candidates, angelic electorate, heavenly Comelec officials. But neither is it unrealistic to seek and have reliable and tenable elections. One thing is very certain more than new laws, expensive machines and many other possible ways and means for assuring better elections. The most important and necessary ingredient in the improvement and reform of the local and national elections in the country is the renewal of the group of persons upon whom the conduct of election is reposed.
There is nothing like God-fearing and country-loving, honest and honorable Comelec people from top to bottom of its organization who can and who will affirm and promote genuine reformation of the electoral process in the Philippines.
It is persons who do and undo good systems, great machines, excellent operational manuals.
27 June 2007