While there are many acknowledged experts in the matter of authentic and credible elections in the Country as legitimately demanded by its constitution as a Republican Democracy, even but elementary reason and basic logic stipulate the key program thrusts that the COMELEC cannot afford to ignore or disregard – under the grave penalty of incompetence, possibly malice not altogether excluded. In other words, the said Commission that acquires a profound significance and eminent role particularly during election time, has the following fundamental agenda to accomplish in the order of time – otherwise, the Country would be exposed to social disorder and the people could be led to public dissent.
First is Education. It has become a big assumption that the education of people about the significance of election, concerning the rights and obligations of voters, regarding the electoral process to be watched, are the agenda of private citizens, civic organizations and the like. The Commission is not known for doing much about this fundamental election concern.
Second is Registration. The on-going registration of voters, the continuous checking of genuine and living voters, the careful encoding and cleansing of the voters’ registration lists, this is not only important but actually imperative. Disenfranchising individuals from voting and/or adding ghost voters are the standard mortal sins in Philippine elections.
Third is Voting. Whereto to go for voting, what to bring in order to vote, how to find one’s name in the registry of voters, how to vote and what to do with it – these constitute some of the primary and composite knowledge that voters should have in their fingertips, so to speak. Not to be able to vote, to cast an invalid vote and other electoral brouhaha, are not in any way funny.
Fourth is Counting. This is the final crux of honest and orderly, peaceful and credible elections for public offices in all the levels of the elective government hierarchy. It is not only strange and bizarre but also repulsive and revolting when counting machines do not count correctly and/or when those individuals assigned in checking the machine counts, do not even know how to count by design and intent.
Fifth is Canvassing: Meant to eventually check and ascertain the integrity of the election results. This merit an acceptability of this phase hinge on the moral stature and ready availability of the basic electoral data obtained on the occasion of the registration of voters. It is best for the ethical standing of the results of the canvassing made if this is done ably, neatly and fast.
If elections in the Philippines are more often than not, object of derision and contempt, its because of the disregard of any of the above mandatory phrases.
February 10, 2010