Areas of concern-A A +A
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I ALWAYS say a flawed democracy is better than a totalitarian state run by unelected bureaucrats and by unelectable military dictators. The country has proved that citizens still exercise to choose their chosen ones and boot out of power those they dislike through elections.
Despite the PDAF and DAP scandals that are shaking the Philippine State, many Filipinos trooped to the polling precincts to choose their village officials.
My family and I went to our polling precinct without a hitch. The only problem I had was the noonday heat. But perhaps I should count my blessing since if it rained, many voters would not have voted at all.
I have to congratulate my brother-in-law José Fornes Berona who ran for kagawad and lost, and yet managed to smile after the loss. He blamed not the other candidates but his camp who he said could have done a better campaign.
We were one of the lucky ones, though. No one can expect a flawed democracy with elections that are transparent, fair, honest, and peaceful. In other words, perfect. That’s an ideal that this country has yet to achieve.
So on the eve of the elections, there were stories on vote-buying in Barangay 16, Bacolod. According to incumbent Barangay Captain, residents ran after a vehicle that his rival rode, filled with money allegedly for vote-buying.
Even in our barangay, stories (rumors?) were rife on vote-buying. The only difference, said some of the voters I interviewed, was the amount that candidates for punong barangay paid voters. The losers, understandably, echoed the same sentiments.
When pressed for answers on the where and when on incidents, however, people failed to give more details. Well, it’s a free country. People are free to swap tall tales.
Over at the Barangay Singcang-Airport, incumbent Barangay Captain Rosinie Distrito and his opponent Joselito Baloyo put up temporary tents in front of the polling place in the barangay. Let’s see how the Bacolod COMELEC throws the book at them.
Such shenanigans are nothing compared to the Toboso killings. Two persons in Purok Kinalumsan, Barangay Poblacion, Toboso, allegedly by a barangay captain candidate and four others. How these armed men slipped through the army-police dragnet for the enforcement of the gun ban is beyond me.
On the other hand, there was a happier ending in the Cádiz mountains. Celestino Villacin Barangay Captain Manuel Verbo expressed to the staff of the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development of his concerns over armed groups that have been harassing voters.
A quick check with Col. Jon Aying revealed that the Barangay was indeed an area of concern. But he assuaged the mountain barangay residents had a team of Army soldiers on the prowl.
Evening of the election, we received a text from a people’s organization leader that the elections in their barangay had been peaceful because of the presence of the soldier. My salute to Col. Aying and the 303rd IB on this one for keeping the peace.
My congratulations to the COMELEC, many candidates, law enforcement and security institutions, and the voters for making these village elections as mandated by law. Three years from now, we hope to see improvements on the lessons learned in the areas of concern in the year 2013
Please send email to email@example.com
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 31, 2013.