TRUTH to tell, I laughed when I opened my copy of this daily yesterday and read the headline about Annabelle Rama asking her cousin, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, to refund her the last-minute political expense of P3 million that she gave him. If my senior citizen memory still serves me well, this is the first time that a candidate openly asked for a refund of election-day expense.

This betrays the level of political advice Annabelle has been getting from likely amateur politicians she surrounded herself with.

Of course, she has her reasons for complaining. This political tradition is simply unconscionable. Why would a candidate be made to spend so much for watchers, runners and voter guides without even being sure of getting their votes?

My point is that candidates are expected to spend any sum they can afford to “waste” on election day for various expenses. The day of the election is supposedly the most crucial of the campaign when, like a fisherman, a candidate safeguards the net.

Frankly, my sympathies are with Annabelle. But she must have been ill-advised about how much to spend for her campaign. Now she is crying on the “people’s shoulders” that she spent that much on election day. For crying out loud, she opened herself up to the laughter of the electorate not only in Cebu City’s north district but also in the whole Cebu City.

The painful part about it is that she appears to be exposing her cousin, as if he had “conned” her into spending that much for the end-game. But in our politics, “paying” watchers, runners and guides are “legitimate” election day expenses.

The candidate does not see how it is done or where it is done because that is not warranted by our election laws. To acknowledge it could be “twisted” to seem like vote-buying, a poll violation.

It might have been worse had Annabelle won the elections. Then hell would have been broken loose with charges and counter-charges. But now she could be content with her so-called jealousies and suspicions, and the cost of the honor she paid to the entertainers. What she has done is just to reveal her being somewhat naive or childish.

But enough of the “day-after election regrets” that usually happen to all losing candidates. To the winning ones, the euphoria is worth all the expense of the election campaign. In fact, some supporters even collected amounts from the winners for money that was not spent at all. But heck, he won!