The essence of electoral complaints-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
EVERY time election nears, two things are trending in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) -- complaints filed, and counter-complaints filed.
In the midst of all these, it's quite natural to bat an eyelash and conclude that this is another one of those dirty tactics of politicians and Comelec should not heed such complaints anymore.
Most of the people who say Comelec should heed such complaints would say it's because it's the right of these officials to do so ipso facto.
But no. I'll tell you why, aside from being a right, it's better for candidates to file every possible complaint they can.
First, because it upholds the interests of the public. When complaints are filed and scrutinized by Comelec, it reduces the chance that the public would fall prey to black propaganda. Because the average reasonable individual would then have to await the Comelec's decision and penalty to ascertain the gravity of a violation, which is part and parcel of a candidate's integrity and moral fitness. Further, it even encourages people to vote because they feel that their choices are empowered choices, not merely those that stem from your neighbor disliking a candidate because he looks hideous or other idiotic factors.
Second, because it keeps political candidates on their toes. Look, we can't have a utopia. There will always be violations, there will always be a degree of toleration, and there will always be people on the losing side of the whole ordeal. But the existence of complaints severely reduces the audacity of anyone to attempt violating any election guideline. At the end of the day, sure, we haven't weeded out all violations, but we sure help holding these to a minimum.
Lastly, because complaints are part of a democratic process. Inasmuch as voting maintains the democratic identity of a nation, by all individuals making sure that it isn't only the segmented parts of a population that are represented, but that of the whole. Contingent to the support of this right, is the due diligence in dealing with electoral complaints. That one must never ask about the welfare of neither party, but the repercussions to the public. Should we keep violations internal to save face as an organization? Or aren't we shaming ourselves more by tolerating the lunacy even further? Shouldn't we let the public know about these things and let them decide if indeed such an act is deemed ethical or not?
In conclusion, it's far better to complain, and report violations rather than to tolerate everything. Tolerance of electoral violations means the acceptance that our country's political culture is beyond saving.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 19, 2013.