Thursday, July 18, 2019

Elections and the Dirty Politics in Between

As early as January 2009, the Philippine political arena has been in colorful blitz when it comes to the 2010 election preparations. The emergence of infomercial and print advertisements among those aspirants for higher political positions are obvious signals that the game of dirty politics is starting.

The upcoming 2010 elections are something that the entire nation is looking forward into - may it be from the lower strata to the highest economic level in the society. Hence, this article magnifies the basic scenario of a typical election in a country that is, until now, plagued by political turmoil brought by dirty politics and great divide.

1. Unlike in America and other nations with an only two-party system, the Philippines is faced with a long-list of political parties. These erring political parties have always something bad to say against each other - a scene that is not surprising during Philippine election period. Exchange of harsh statements can sometimes be annoying among ordinary electorate; however, most of the time, it can be entertaining as seeing highly educated individuals fighting like cats and bulls in worldwide-reach television broadcast.

2. It is a typical scene during elections that voters have hard time locating their names in the voter's list. In an election system such as the Philippines, where votes are counted manually, voters have designated rooms where they will cast their vote. Each room has a voter's list that guides the voters of their room number. Usually, some voters' names are not reflected in the said list. If not in the list, they cannot vote - a lapse that strips off someone to vote the leaders whom she/he thinks are the right ones to rule the country. Moreover, the unsystematic and chaotic voting precincts, especially in highly urbanized areas, can be a factor why citizens are discouraged in going to the voting precincts and opted not to vote instead.

3. Money is the root of all evil. Very true, indeed, as the election is not being spared from the toxic element of money. Voters got paid by candidates in exchange of their votes. In a developing country such as the Philippines, it is a sad reality that people living below the poverty threshold are hold captives in the monetary aspect of elections. In a broader view, these people cannot be blamed if they jump and accept such kind of offer. It is easy money already, and money for them is not easy to find. This is very evident to local barangays and hinterland areas of the country. Although realities will try to justify such an eventuality, still it is a clear picture on the need to further educate Filipino voters. There still a need to inform and persuade the voters not to sell their votes as money will just disappear right away, but not years of governance by a wrong leader.

4. Another notable observation during election period is the increase of crime rate. There are some people who are willing to kill just to win for the position they aim for. Supporters can go as far as murder just to show their support of their candidate. Ambuscades of candidates and supporters are prevalent during election period, especially on identified election hotspots in the country. The presence of goons is a matter of fact, a common scene during elections, particularly in the rural areas where erring political groups and opposing political dynasties are very imminent.

With all the negative observations and harsh realities that beset the Philippine political system during election period, the Filipino people can still be lauded on their patriotism as their participation in the electoral system is enough proof that they do not remain apathetic to their nation's pride. The teachers who protect and man the voters' precincts as well as the police and military that guard the orderly and peaceful conduct of elections construe the Filipino spirit of camaraderie and sacrifice just to exercise one of the most important national events. Above everything else, despite the dirty politics there is, the staging of an election is enough to show the world that democracy is very much alive in the Philippines and that the right to vote and the freedom of the press to cover the elections are well practiced in this developing nation.