‘Transactional Democracy’

AS Filipinos trooped yesterday to polling precincts to cast their votes, they cast their votes not only for individuals and groups running in this year’s midterm election, but more importantly, they cast their votes on our nation’s immediate future, or our nation’s future in the next three years.

But whether or not most of us recognize this—that to vote in an election is to vote for the future that we want—is sadly the one thing that is of least value to most of us given the low level of our political immaturity.

In an ideal situation, an election is, indeed, the best “process” by which the majority of the people get to express their collective will and their collective choice, as the Greeks of Athens taught us over 2,000 years ago.

But the sad reality is that, having learned the “virtue” of elections from the Americans—whose electoral history remains the most despicable among the “democracies”— we seemed to have decided to “stick” to such sordid practices thereby making our own electoral record at par with our own colonial master.

And for this midterm polls, the one despicable electoral “tactic” that has made any election only for the moneyed candidates is “vote buying.”

Indeed, over the barrage of complaints of the authorities and the media against vote buying in the last three days before the election—and even until yesterday—one cannot help but conclude that our democracy—express thru the ballot—has gotten one more rung lower in the annals of rotten democracy.

That we have gotten this low—what we now have is “transactional democracy”—has appalled even one of the most “veteran” of our politicians, former senator Heherson Alvarez.
In a statement last week, days before yesterday’s polls, Alvarez said he is quitting from running as congressman of Isabela, despite being “endorsed” by PDU30, because he cannot stomach the rampant vote buying in the province that has turned the electoral process into a farce.
Raffle-stylle vole buying’

Now if such disgust coming from a seasoned politician has not shamed the Comelec from getting its act together, yesterday’s incident in Biñan, Laguna, showed to what extent incumbent candidates would go to buy votes.

According to our media colleagues covering the election in my province, the camp of the incumbent candidates has resorted to one ingenious and disingenuous way to buy votes—thru “raffles.”

Accordingly, voters in Bgy. Malaban, would place a “raffle stub” into a blue, steel box, which would later on be retrieved then counted and the raffle participants paid accordingly after wards.

As there is no money going around as evidence, it can be argued that there is no “vote-buying” going on, forcing the responding policemen to comment that the incident was the “first time” they encountered such manner of paying off voters.
In short, “Only in the Pilipins” and yes, expect this scheme to be duplicated by other candidates in other parts of the country in future elections, hehehe, ayy, huhuhu!

Now, if broken down PCOS/VCM machines, “missing” names in voters’ lists and dead people (including their dead pets) managing to cast votes are “minor irritants” during yesterday’s political exercise, the other disturbing incident comparable to vote buying has also manifested itself—you vote for a candidate but the name of another candidate that you never voted came out in your voter’s receipt.

Aside from the already infamous “dagdag-bawas,” do we know have a “palit-pangalan” among the scandals that we are to deal with thru our “computerized” election system?

Two weeks ago, during the OFW voting, a video of an OFW from Hong Kong has gone viral where the voter (a woman) complained that she voted for KDP candidate, Glenn Chong, for senator but was aghast to see in her voter’s receipt that Chong’s name was replaced by that of...

...failed putchist, Gary Alejano.

Yesterday, from the camp of re-electionist, Sen. Sonny Angara (belated happy birthday too to his father, the late Senate President, Edong Angara; may his soul rest in peace), came the information that they have received reports that despite being voted by his supporters in Caloocan and Davao, his name was REPLACED by another senatorial candidate!

Recall, dear readers, that at almost the same time that the video of the aforesaid OFW has gone viral, another video, showing that the names of the “Otso Inidoro,” err, “Otso Diretso,” candidates have already been “pre-shaded,” had also gone viral.

In other words, if voters are not vigilant enough by bringing with them an “UV” flashlight so they can “scan” the ballot before shading it themselves, they would end up being cheated of their votes, especially if they were unable to get their voter’s receipt—as the experience of Chong and Angara’s supporters tell us.

Accordingly, the camp of Sen. Sonny said they are now “documenting” all these reports but whether they would still matter in the end, nobody can yet say.
“Manalo” at “matalo” ba si Sen. Sonny, may interes pa kaya siyang magpatawag ng imbestigasyon?

All these reports that negatively impact on the competence and credibility (or lack of them) by the Comelec, if not properly resolved, can only solidify the prevailing belief among Filipinos about the “existence” of “syndicate” within the Comelec and Smartmatic who have turned our transactional democracy entirely into another level.

That is, if candidates resort to vote-buying to induce voters to vote for them, they now would have to deal with this “embedded” syndicate within the Comelec to make sure they would garner votes, whether