With the just concluded Barangay and SK elections there are some painful truths that remain clear and evident. Not that they were not known before. There was then the lingering hope that they would be somehow disproved or rendered still debatable. But with the said elections, they are now undeniable and incontrovertible realities. Let it be emphatically pointed out that said elections have been long since in the sphere of partisan politics. Those who dare said otherwise, must be from another planet.
The conclusive truth is that in this otherwise blessed country, what are supposed to be signal occasions to demonstrate a working democracy and to show basically upright public officials and civilized voters, have just been once more pitifully negated by a good number of them. And there is a big doubt and strong reservation that Philippine elections would be something for Filipinos to look forward to and be proud of.
From the top to the bottom of the political spectrum, among both the old and the young politicos and voters, the following composite truth can be said about elections in this country. One, they confirm the truth that politics are but a family affair, a family business. Two, they prove the consequent fact that elections are thus occasions to kill or die for, to sell or buy votes, to cheat or be cheated—with neither second thought before their commission nor remorse thereafter. Three, only sitting and aspiring politicos are salivating with the thought of elections, with millions of other people dreading the event, despising the event or simply considering it is an occasion to get back at the candidates by taking their money—the more the better, the merrier.
That elections and politics in the Philippines are in effect but family affairs, family business, are best proven and exemplified by the holder of nothing less that the highest public office in the land. With two sons having beforehand won elective offices practically hands down, that makes them three in prominent political fronts. Thus it is that even at the base of the political pyramid, barangay chairmen have children, close relatives as kagawad and/or SK chairmen themselves of members. Many closely related politicos are big happy families.
Murders. Rampages. Grave threats. Fish fights. Gun fires. Vote buying. Illegal election activities. Flying voters. Missing voters’ lists. Fires. Missing Comelec officials. Unprotected and unpaid teachers attending to the polls. Election protests. All these are but some of the many socio-political atrocities that closely accompanied the last Barangay and SK elections.
The assumption akin to certitude is that the more candidates spend money to pay for loyalties, buy votes and anything for sale to win the elections, the more they will steal from public funds as a matter of course, once elected. Those who lost—“cheated”—are either left alone holding empty bags or will court the winners for favors to get some of their money back at least.
5 November 2007