Thursday August 16, 2018

Luczon: Dismantling the 'normal illegal'

"And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]." - Qur'an 2:45

IT IS unfortunate that even in a "small-scale" political exercise through the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, there are still areas in Mindanao that was subjected to poll-related violence. Lucky enough in Northern Mindanao region especially in Cagayan de Oro, it's only limited to verbal commotions between supporters of their patron candidates.

On Tuesday, May 15, most barangays have already declared its winners, while some have yet to settle issues on missing election returns and other disqualification complaints. But what is certain yesterday was a reality: at what cost this election could entail?

Prior to the Election Day, we still see reports of vote buying, and even selling, a practice that has become an open secret, especially that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can't prosecute all albeit the warnings made every election season.

We have come to a point that this has become a "normal illegal." Everyone knows that it is against election rules and offenders might end up in jail, but the lack of enforcement of these rules, and the money race every political candidates are bidding the value of each voters, thus, it exist shamelessly even in broad daylight.

So, why not legalize vote buying, right? Include it in the books as each candidates had to file their statements of election contributions and expenditures (SOCE), and be done with it. Right? That way, everybody will be happy, at least in temporary financial gain.

Then again, doing so would defeat why elections and the right of suffrage existed in the first place. Of choosing the right people to lead, and lead with a clean conscience and value for ethical conduct.

Every election season, it is unfortunate to discern that we did not actually make a change. Because we never allowed it, and we are still indulging to the old, not-so honorable ways.

To those who won the elections, remember that you are always accountable with your actions. Do not be consumed by the cancerous system we already have in the bigger political arena of this country. Make your barangay to be the catalyst for correcting the system, making it more dignified than before.

Now that the barangay and SK elections are over. It is a challenge for winning officials on how to stand with principles and become independent from higher political pressures. Will they command respect from higher politicians treating them as co-equals, or prostitute themselves for more favors to be granted?