Long time since, the disturbing matter of “Vote Buying” has been an issue whenever elections were held in the country. And this shameful phenomenon has closely accompanied Philippine elections from the baranggay to the national levels – be these midterm of presidential elections. In fact, on the occasion of the recently concluded midterm election, the debasing reality of “Vote Buying” was noted as significantly more widely practiced than in previous elections.
The truth of the matter is that there will be no “Vote Buying” unless there is “Vote Selling.” These two transactional ventures come in pair even but in ordinary business enterprises. No one can buy something if no one is selling anything. In the same way, no one can sell something if no one is buying anything. Concretely in conjunction with the last election and the significantly more “Vote Selling-Vote Buying” that more extensively and openly accompanied the said political exercise, the following observations are well in order even if only for a better understanding of its signal implications – all of which are anything but pacifying and inspiring realities.
The first and foremost truth behind the detestable agenda is that – notwithstanding all heavenly surveys to the contrary – there are even more Filipinos who live in poverty in the event that they do not actually wallow in misery. No one with even but a little delicadeza would sell his dignity but making money through the selling of his vote that is intimately linked with his good name. But then, there is the well-known saying that, “Empty stomach has no ears!” This is why although vote selling is contrary to but elementary ethical standard, it is unreasonable to blame, much less condemn the sellers.
Then enters the long since established fact that Philippine politics make a great business. Wherefore, as a rule, only rich individuals and wealthy families usually aspire for and seek the tenure of public offices precisely because so much capital is needed to buy votes – among other expensive pre-election agenda such as the gathering guns and the hiring goons. But once successfully elected, the capital return is immense. Sad to say, this is precisely why individuals living with integrity and having competence but have no money to use as capital for elections, are the last ones who aspire public offices.
Lastly, all the above constitute the fundamental reason why – as well said by those in the know – supposedly winning political candidates in the Philippines are but “proclaimed” considering that it is not sure if they are really elected. Translation: They become authorized to assume the public offices they campaigned for, not really because it is certain that the people voted for them freely and willingly – but simply because it is said so by these and those individuals tasked to do so.