Dirty barangay elections?-A A +A
Thursday, October 31, 2013
THE barangay elections are over. But from what we observed and from what some voters revealed, nothing has changed with the way our political exercise is conducted even at the barangay level.
It’s still a long way before the “matuwid na daan” vision of President Noynoy Aquino could be achieved. The President’s term will end in 2016 but his vision of good governance has remained a dream.
The good thing on Election Day was that the streets (except those along the polling precincts) were traffic-free. We arrived at our precinct and immediately voted since there were not much people around, unlike in theMay polls.
Vote-buying was still the game of the day. As revealed to me, the rate per voter ranged from P300 to P1,500 depending on the capacity of the candidate and the opponent, as well as the location of the voters.
In other parts of the country, some candidates for barangay captain were killed before Election Day. What a way to eliminate competition.
Cebu is blessed in many aspects. We were spared from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and Monday’s barangay elections were basically peaceful.
During and after the poll exercises, though, schools utilized as polling precincts were like a huge garbage dumping area. Leaflets of candidates were scattered everywhere, even on the streets.
In past elections, some losers accuse the winners of cheating. In last Monday’s barangay polls, there were no charges of cheating but more on vote buying.
Although no voter would admit that he sold his vote or that a candidate bought votes, the fact remains that vote-buying a day before or on Election Day is like a plague that is difficult to eradicate.
Talamban Barangay Councilor Ronnie Caminade, who ran for barangay captain and lost to Dario Arcilla, has one regret.
He texted me that he thought he could make the difference by not indulging in vote-buying. He relied so much on several independent surveys conducted before Election Day that showed he was leading by a mile against Dario, brother of Councilor Alvin Arcilla.
On the eve of judgment day, talks were widespread that vote-buying was rampant in Talamban’s slum area. When told about it, Caminade told his supporters he won’t buy votes.
What pained him, Caminade said, was that he was falsely accused in public by his opponents as a drunkard, gambler, womanizer and drug lord in the days leading to Election Day.
Caminade said he won in places where literacy is high. He expressed gratitude to those who believed in his sincerity to serve without buying votes.
But Caminade should have known that politics is a devil’s game, as Danao City’s eminent politician, the late Amon Durano, would tell his friends in his prime days.
Ronnie Caminade did try to make a difference, but some of his constituents did not see it. To those who sold their votes, all they saw was the color of money that they could spend for a day.
Congratulations to the winners.
There are many big challenges that await the new and re-elected barangay officials of Talamban. As an ally of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), Dario could perhaps fast track the approval of the budget for the drainage project in Hi-way 77/ St. Anthony Village.
The previous barangay officials, particularly Councilor Caminade who personally followed up its approval, failed because the BOPK councilors blocked it and the former city treasurer refused to certify the availability of funds.
It may be a small project since the cost is only about P2 million but it has impact on the residents because the street gets flooded due to lack of drainage.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 31, 2013.