In its Pastoral Statement on the 2007 National Elections dated 8 July 2007, the CBCP made a collective pronouncement on the lights and shadows that accompanied the said democratic exercises. In rather clear and relatively few words, the Episcopal Conference pointed out both the admirable as well as the censurable factors that accompanied the political event as far as their ethical elements and moral dimensions were concerned.
As an appropriate ending of the statement, the CBCP made seven specific recommendations in the spirit of good will and in sincere service to the people. The bishops began by recommending the full revamp of the COMELEC and ended by proposing the cleansing of the voters’ list. It further urged the prosecution of those responsible for electoral anomalies and continued by endorsing a systematic and continued political voters’ education. Finally, the Episcopal Conference saw the need of modernizing the electoral system (automation), reforming the electoral laws (legislation), and giving special vigilance to the elections held in ARMM.
Without formally and explicitly saying it, it is quite obvious that the CBCP sees one over-all imperative behind all of its seven categorical recommendations. It is clearly the fundamental need of good persons--upright, credible and honorable individuals—who should be behind all its proposed agenda. Without the presence and service of such good people behind the CBCP recommendations, the country would simply again experience the shame of the 2004 Elections and the fraud in this 2007 Elections on the occasion of the projected crucial 2010 National Elections.
In other words, a constitutional body like the COMELEC manned by unscrupulous officials urges even well meaning people to adopt unconstitutional means for redress. Good counting machines become the worst vote counters in the hands of unscrupulous operators. Electoral laws no matter how good are no match for deceitful officials tasked to implement them. A sound electoral system is always receptive of distortion by corrupt executives.
That is why without well chosen honest and just public servants placed as heads and helpers behind al the seven CBCP recommendations, such would be simply another futile and vain exercise. In general, it can be even rightfully said that manned by lying, cheating and stealing personnel, even the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government become a composite curse of the governed.
23 July 2007