The Open-Ballot System

Another round of elections. Another round of display of corruption that has already rooted in the Philippines.

See, vote buying is already a thing of the past. But I didn’t say so to mean that there is no more vote buying here in the Philippines. Quite the contrary, actually. It seems that vote buying has become an integral part of the Philippine electoral system.

However, as it is a given that vote buying has been existent for so long, people have already learned a thing or to on how to get around it – candidates and voters alike.

For the voters, there’s always the sure-I-will-accept-your-money-but-that-doesn’t-mean-that-you-have-my-vote technique. It’s what some people call “the right way”. To mean, “I will accept everyone’s money but I will still vote for my candidates.”

But the candidates have also learned to be smarter about vote buying. This time, they want to ensure that they get the votes that they paid for. It’s called the “open-ballot” system.

I, actually, have not seen it being done in a precinct, as I don’t linger after voting, but am pretty sure that ballots are supposed to be kept confidential so, it can only mean that whoever pushes for this strategy must have the support of the election council for it to succeed. It basically means that you have to show your ballot to your buyer’s inspector before dropping it in the ballot box.

Well, yes, it has to have happened in our place after I have voted as I voted right after the lunch break of the election council and local buzz about the operation grew at around 3pm.

You see, this, open-ballot, was the strategy that was employed by one of the local candidates here for barangay chairman. Saturday before the elections, this candidate has already given away an amount for some voters. Sunday, the other one gave thrice more than the previous candidate.

But Mr. Open-Ballot was very much determined to win the elections. So, some people, his followers, started the operation and went places to convince people to vote for him. The deal was simple enough: five times more than the amount previously distributed by Mr. Open-Ballot will be given to voter and all voter will have to do is show a ballot with Mr. Open-Ballot’s name on it to his inspectors before dropping it to the ballot box.

I so don’t know what to think.

Well, for those people who stood up and didn’t agree to the open-ballot, I can congratulate you for sheer nerve and self-control. As for those who gave in to the offer, I can’t blame you. Money is so hard to find these days.

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