Round robin of the rich

More of the same.

This is what the people got from this year’s mid-term elections.

“Succession of elites” was how a political thinker put it.

True, this week’s balloting gave the boot to the Estradas and other famous and powerful political clans, but they were supplanted by new, emerging power cliques.

The Old Guards were also shown the door out of the political arena – Enrile, Osmeña, Roxas, etc.

This means a new generation is pushing their own kind.

It was also definitely not a good year for media practitioners to throw their hats into the political ring – TV reporter Jiggy Manicad got over six million votes but was way short to make it in the winning circle; former PJ columnist and Presidential Committee on Constitutional Change technical director and spokesman Conrado I. Generoso and elections lawyer and former broadcaster Romulo Macalintal also failed to make it in the senate race. Other media personalities, however, made it to the lower House via the regular district race or partylist race.

Finally, the usual actors, comedians, and other clowns (including a candidate with a monosyllabic name, North Asian facial features, and an absolutely uneventful past) were also the bidas  in the Senate electoral contest, much to Ped Xing’s disappointment and disgust.

Where were you, Millennials?

But still, life goes on, and we all have to move forward.

And so let us get this sad episode over and done with and go back to watching Game of Thrones.

***

No elections are truly free if the counting of the votes is not reasonably fast.

After all, the whole idea of the balloting exercise is to fill up elective positions which are soon turning officially vacant.

That’s why elections are held about a month ahead or earlier than the formal expiry of the terms of elective officials on June 30.

And so, the Commission on Elections has a constitutional duty to finish the election process – from the casting of votes to their final canvass as soon as humanly possible.

This year’s electoral exercise was breath-taking in terms of efficiency, speed, and transparency. That is except for the electronic glitches experienced in certain voting centers.

But the technical problem was encountered in places few and far between. Considering the relative age of the vote-counting machines (the last time they were used was during the 2016 national elections).

The delay in data transmission from the field offices to Comelec headquarters is also reasonably tolerable.

Still, the poll body must step up the pace of its remaining post-election work to calm lingering restiveness among voters and the general public.

In short, the Comelec has to finish the job pronto.

And it is encouraging to note that the poll body is looking to finish this week the canvassing of all 167 certificates of canvass from Monday's mid-term elections.

Spokesperson James Jimenez noted that the formal proclamation of winners in the national polls is not possible within the week.

“We expect to finish everything within the week but the formal proclamation may not be this week because there are a lot of invites (to do). But we will know the results very soon,” Jimenez said in an interview on Wednesday.

Prior to the scheduled proclamation of new national officials, the Comelec usually sends invitations to government officials, and families of the newly-elected politicians among others, asking for their presence in this momentous event.  

Jimenez reiterated his earlier statement that they would like to collectively proclaim all the 12 new senators of the country.

“That is our goal because in the past, we proclaim the first six. It will be like during the 2016 polls where we proclaimed all of them in one occasion,” he said.

At the same time, the poll body official reported that as of Tuesday evening, the Comelec en banc, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, has canvassed 34 COCs or 24 percent of the total number of COCs to be canvassed.     

Of the 167 COCs, 130 are from automated polls in local and overseas, 34 representing manual elections overseas, and one each from local absentee voting and detainee voting.

Meanwhile, data from the poll body's Election and Barangay Affairs Department show that 366 municipalities, out of the more than 1,000, have already proclaimed local winners.

They are from the Cordillera, Ilocos, Eastern Visayas, Calabarzon, Cagayan Valley, Soccsksargen, Central Luzon, and Davao regions.

The other regions have yet to submit a report on the proclamation of winners at the local level.

Proclaim Zambo gov!

In a tight electoral race, a “convincing” margin can be an insurmountable challenge to the lagging candidate.

But in the reckoning of election authorities such gap in the ballot tally is not an absolute insoluble advantage of the candidate who is ahead in the count.

But when all considerations are factored in, and the tally still does not dramatically change, then the winning candidate has all the reasons to plead that he/she be proclaimed the winner ASAP.

The camp of incumbent Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy has called on the Commission on Elections to proclaim him as the winner in the gubernatorial contest over contender and outgoing Representative Bullet Jalosjos.

In a statement, Uy pointed out that he has a “convincing margin of almost five thousand votes as of the latest tally”. As of press time, Governor Uy was leading Jalosjos, 188,752 votes to 184,475 votes, respectively.

According to Uy, the immediate proclamation by the Comelec of the “rightful winner is an acknowledgment of the fact that the people of the province have already clearly and resoundingly manifested their collective will”.

“The people of Zamboanga del Norte have spoken, and the Comelec must recognize their voice,” Uy said.

Uy pointed out that, “officially”, he had obtained a plurality of votes “despite earlier efforts by my opponents to deceive, mislead and confuse the people of the province”. He said that the “fake” “Roberto Uy” – a candidate earlier disqualified by the Comelec and branded as a nuisance candidate – managed to obtain 20,047 votes as of press time.

“It is clear that the intention of the voters of the province is to elect the genuine Roberto Uy and not the nuisance candidate,” Uy explained. “Technically, I am ahead by close to 25,000 votes over my closest opponent since those votes are clearly intended for the qualified candidate,” he underscored.

He told the Comelec that “the people of the province have already suffered a lot from the campaign of deception employed by those who tapped and financed the nuisance candidate”.

“We pray that the Comelec would spare our province from further anguish by further delaying the proclamation of the rightful winner,” he said.

The Comelec earlier ruled that the second “Roberto Uy”, allegedly a scavenger placed at the payroll of a local government in the province, had no visible means to support a political campaign and was clearly not qualified for the highest office in the province.

Governor Uy had also earlier decried efforts to misinform and mislead Zamboanga del Norte voters through propaganda materials with his face on it but the number in the bullet of his disqualified namesake.

Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy.

Pause and pray, people.