As in the 2010 election, the machines divulged the winners of this year’s election in record time although there is no official proclamation yet as to the winners of the senatorial race, allegedly because of “transmission” problems. And like what happened in 2010 the people are amazed at the speed in which the results are known. They seem to be mesmerized into believing that somehow these machines have accurately registered and counted their votes like what the Comelec has been claiming all along, especially because the results somehow correspond to the various poll surveys except as to the rankings.
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star)
But as previously pointed out, there are certain legal issues confronting the Comelec with regards to the last election. Among them is the review of the source code to be conducted by any interested party or group once the AES technology has been selected (Section 12, RA 9369). The other issue pertains to the random manual audit (RMA) required to be conducted pursuant to Section 29. Up to now there has been no report that it has been complied with. The third is the affixing of the digital signature in the election returns before their transmission. Apparently the Comelec has dispensed with this requirement of the law. These issues place in doubt the legality of the last election.
However even if we give the benefit of the doubt in favor of the legality of the last election, we still cannot say that said election has given us much hope and inspiration to attain those reforms in government and politics we have been longing for. A look at the possible and the proclaimed winners in the local and national levels shows that they are the same old traditional politicians who have taken advantage of their positions and their perks and privileges without much accomplishment in return. Since they came into power, they are the only ones whose lives have greatly changed for the better as the rest of their countrymen continue to wallow in poverty and want.
The last election also positively affirms that only the big spenders win elections in this country. Well known but still consistently denied is the fact that candidates for senators spend hundreds of millions of pesos (P500 million) to win elections. A review of the political ads aired on radio and TV by some senatorial candidates clearly shows that they have spent about P2 billion for this purpose alone. With the other expenses for their campaign staff and well oiled political machinery, it cannot be denied that candidates spent a lot more than the campaign expense limits fixed by law.
Indeed candidates cannot also win elections here if they will faithfully comply and observe the election laws and rules. Only those who violate the law especially in the putting up of campaign posters and other election paraphernalia emerge victorious in the polls. You can see their names and faces everywhere in your locality except in the common poster areas designated by the Comelec. Last May 13, when I voted in our precinct in Ramon Magsaysay High School in Cubao, I had a hard time reaching the place because of the banners, posters, leaflets and other propaganda materials posted, distributed and spread all over the area.
Most rampant and very conspicuous is of course the buying of votes even near the polling places. Obviously the Comelec itself appeared helpless in checking or stopping this practice as its own Chairman admitted when he advised voters to simply “get the money and run”, or to just accept the money to buy their votes but not vote for the vote buying candidates.
Undoubtedly, as confirmed even more in the last election, candidates now look at the public office they are seeking no longer as a public trust but as a private property where they can invest their money and recover their investment a hundredfold. Others consider it as a means to satisfy their lusts for power and enjoy them continuously. This observation is proven quite clearly by going over the winners in the last election. Most of them ran for re-election or return after lying low for sometime because of the term limits. Others run for other positions and let family members take over the positions they will vacate because of terms limits.
This is the first time indeed when we will have a President with a cousin in the Senate. But even worse is the case of our Vice President who has a daughter in the Senate, a daughter in the Lower House, another son as Mayor of Makati City. Then in the Senate, we will see a brother and his half brother together for the first time aside from a brother and sister who will be together again.
These abhorring political dynasties are duplicated almost all over the country. But most notable is the case of San Juan City. Its former Mayor who became President of the country but was ousted and convicted and pardoned for the crime of plunder, wanted to get back to power. Since his second wife is the incumbent San Juan City Mayor who was running for reelection, he transferred residence, ran for and won as Mayor of Manila. Now they hold power in two cities and have two sons in the Senate. This can happen only in the Philippines indeed.
The only saving grace perhaps, particularly in the senatorial race, is the emergence of a fresh face among the winners. It is even a pleasant surprise because she landed on the top spot contrary to the consistent predictions of the poll survey firms and political analysts. Indeed it is quite refreshing to see that Grace Poe-Llamanzares, a young and self effacing but apparently capable lady will become one of the senators in the next Congress. Of course her victory may be due in large part to her being the daughter of a movie idol and well liked celebrity, the late FPJ. Nevertheless, she looks to be still untainted by the dirty politics in this country, and she seems to be competent yet humble and unassuming as shown in recent interviews. These traits somehow give us some sign of hope that change in politics and governance is still possible in the future.