IF SOCIAL media posts are to be believed, the recently concluded election this year is no different to the previous ones. Vote buying, and the voluntary act of selling by waiting in the long night and streets are still rampant.
The memes proliferating online, is a social commentary done in a dark humor, that somehow validate that such practice exist for many decades now, that it becomes an open secret and a tradition being part of the suffrage culture in the country.
But the images and videos that show “evidences” of vote buying can be a manifestation that it exist, it still require further validation from enforcing government authorities like the police, under the behest of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). And this is where it becomes awry.
Even it is already present, the act must be established “beyond reasonable doubts.” Most of the time politicians get away from the charges because of technicalities not met in proving that they were behind the bribing operations. Some would argue that it is the doing of the opposing political parties, or that some supporters “took the initiative” and that politicians have no knowledge about.
But in some parts of this country, perhaps even within our region and nearby provinces, vote buying is a normal pre-election activity to the point that it's part of a standard operating procedure, and in broad daylight, money is flowing from the so-called “political leaders.” There were also narratives of people having to fight with these leaders for not paying them the exact amount, as the leaders would tend to get a cut from the original amount to be distributed to the voters who are enlisted.
And there were compromised principles in order to “justify” the receiving of bribe money, so that it would be less guilty: take the money and still vote based on choice; or take the money because if not, the leaders will get it for themselves.
Then Election Day came and counting has begun.
It would have been a great convenience that we are now accepting a modern approach to our electoral exercise by migrating from manual to automated elections, but it also introduced new challenges, and grave concerns that did not put to rest the doubts and fears of the critical public of having the polls get rigged or cheated.
Before, it was the “dagdag-bawas (addition-subtraction)” of the number of votes. Now, it’s the access and transmission of data.
A minor technical error could translate to paranoid notion of election rigging, so you can’t blame some critical camps would question the long delays of the transmission of election results to Comelec servers on the first day of counting, in addition to some Secure Digital cards not properly working.
The elections are said to be sacred, as it represent the voice of a democratic and free people, that is why technical difficulties which is said to arise more than 200 percent compared to the 2016 elections, is too concerning. And we already know how tedious it is when one files a protest and demand a recount.
Seeing all these, we need miracles for us to be reformed. If only the Infinity Stones are real.