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.

Bills! More Bills! And some coins, too!

The images above are of all the cash I received from the local candidates for this year’s presidential elections.

Except for the 100-peso bill that came earliest.

Also, I still don’t know what to do with these… Like I said before, “I am not so certain if I can take spending it.”

On a side note, I got a total of 950 Php from 12 local candidates…

A Sudden Dilemma

I have been looking forward to this year’s elections – both for the chance of getting to vote for the first time and the first set of election money that I am gonna receive. I had no doubt about it. It happens every time – every elections, that is, voters receive money from candidates.

Though, I have also told myself that I will not vote for any candidate who will give away cash just to get some votes.

Still, I made plans for the money.

But now that I think of it, given that I have received my first bill, I am not so certain if I can take spending it.

And every bill that I’m still gonna receive. Well, I can say so because this afternoon, someone stopped by our house to tell my mother that another candidate is giving out money.

He said that the candidate was in another zone earlier, giving out the money, but now that candidate has come to our zone to give out the money for our zone.

Also, during dinner, my mother told me that someone else came by our place to tell her that he is the one holding the money. I don’t know when they are gonna give that one out.

And, as for my dilemma, I am not so sure what to do with the money.

Dropping [in our barrio] Succeeds

The image above is a picture of the 100-peso bill that was lying in my table when I arrived at our place yesterday.

It’s a very stiff one – the kind we call “fresh from the bank”.

My mom told me that it is from the dropping in our barangay that finally succeeded after a previous failure last May 3, 2010.

It came with some sort of voter information sheet that looks like this:

Sorry about the quality. The images are taken by my netbook – an EeePC 701.

Local Candidate Drops First Bomb

May 3, 2010

The morning air was filled with news about a dropping from a local candidate for a congressional position.

The news said that the dropping will be at the house of a candidate for town councilor at 12pm.

Being me, I waited for the time while observing the people walking by the streets.

I had a hunch that at around 11:30am, people will start going about to try to get first in line.

And my hunch didn’t fail me. At around 11:30am, people from the seaside, the barangay street being beside our house, started walking to the main highway.

I needn’t wonder or ask where they are all headed. I knew where they were going – to the house of the candidate for town councilor for the dropping from the congressional candidate of their party.

And to confirm it, I asked one of them. They were not very silent about it. They openly said that they were going to get their share.

I asked my aunt, a neighbor of the town candidate who was in our place that day, how much was going to be ditributed per voter. She told me that a dropping happened the day before that day from the same party. It happened at a barangay near the town proper. She said that, Php 100 per voter was supposed to be distributed but the so-called “leaders” of the candidate clipped it to Php 50 per voter. She wasn’t certain about the amount for out barangay.

That day was also the birthday of my father, Belated Happy Birthday, ‘Tay., which is why my aunt was in our place and a few more people. It was some sort of a small gathering.

The talk during the drinking-part of the celebration centered around politics, the upcoming elections, and, of-course, the dropping.

As we were celebrating, people were still walking, headed to the drop site. Some of them, greeting my father while they pass by.

My aunt was even telling me, “If you’re not so shy, you’ll be there and get your share.”

However, being me, I couldn’t dare to such a place – crowded with people, eager to get their share of something.

At around 1pm, we saw people already headed back. We thought they already got their share. Apparently, they haven’t.

More people came back empty-handed. The afternoon ended and we didn’t hear
of anyone getting a share.

When the night came, I asked my mom what happened. I don’t deal with drunk people really well so, I left the table and got myself a fill of the TV. She told me that the reason the money wasn’t distributed was that the “leaders” were holding on to the money and didn’t seem to want to distribute it.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, I was talking about vote buying here.

Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections: Closing

—The closing article for the series “Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections” with all the bias and questions the writer’s mind can have and find.—

How much time do we have left to get a final decision? Not much. We have just about three months left before the time to choose will come.

May 10, 2010 is so near and a very good evidence would be the posters and banners already very numerous in the streets of the Philippines.

I know the title says “Closing” and I have just made eight profiles for eight people.

I’ve got reasons.

One. I started this series, “Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections“, before the ComElec decided to clear Nicanor Perlas and Vetallano Acosta of being nuisance candidates.

Two. The ComElec had a reason to tag them “nuisance” candidates. I may never know what that particular reason is but, given the fact that they decided to do so, it tells me that there is something with these two people that caused them to be tagged so.

Three. Visibility. This issue is more on Acosta. When the official campaign period started, he didn’t even start campaigning. And given his status, if he is, at any rate, serious about his candidacy, he would’ve been able to tell that he has no time to rest. And, therefore, would’ve already started campaigning. As with Perlas, yes, he went about and started campaigning so he is free of this question.

Fourth. Integrity. Still on Acosta. He can’t be found on his given address, as the news has told, and his own political party is not even certain if he is worth supporting.

I believe, I have given enough reasons.

Moving on.

Now, the talk would be on the eight remaining candidates whose profiles have been shown in the past eight posts.

How believable can these people make themselves be and win the votes of people?

What are these people willing to give or say just to win the votes of the people?

Noynoy Aquino has already stated that Hacienda Luisita will move to the favor of the farmers whether he wins this race or not.

How possible is this? Did he already secure a permission from the other shareholders of the said hacienda for him to be able to state such very strong words?

And, how ironic is it that it is his mother, the late former President Cory Aquino, who brought CARP to life and the program is an utter failure in their lands?

JC de los Reyes is currently a councilor of the city of Olongapo. If you think of it, this is quite a giant leap. From councilor to president. Does he really have all he needs to back up this move?

Erap Estrada was once elected president of the Republic of the Philippines but holds the record for being the very first president of the Philippines to be ousted from power. Seems to me like he wants to make another record for himself: the very first president of the  Republic of the Philippines to be elected twice.

Erap’s candidacy has been questioned from the time he filed his candidacy. The issues range from his qualification given the mandates of the Philippine Constitution and from his qualification as a person.

Erap’s standing in the surveys, as reported in the news, is not too bad compared to the other people behind him. He always stands third.

I, myself, am amazed of this fact and am wondering how some people, apparently, are still able to believe in him. What are the odds the Filipino will give power to a person who have been stripped of power by the Filipino?

No matter how unbelievable this might sound, in all of the eight profiles I have research about, I can see that it is Dick Gordon who has done the most. But are those gonna be enough to make people believe that he is the person who can lead this country?

Needless to say, it is also very clear that he does not have as much support as the leading candidates have.

The Transformers. Him and Bayani Fernando. Or so they claim to be. Does the name sound hopeful or sounds utterly childish?

Jamby Madrigal, as I have stated in her profile page in this blog, contradicts herself in a very bad way.

What did she really mean to say with her goal for not bringing even a running mate with her is to be able to have like-minded people governing the country?

Yes, to me, it sounds utterly stupid – just as I said in the profile page. OK, maybe it is not the same words but that is what I was implying. Unless, of course, in one way or another, she is gonna be able to make her point straight.

And as she have been caught on cam touring, she can make it sound like it is only Manny Villar who is her rival in this race.

Gibo Teodoro, in my book, is also another questionable candidate. Not he himself but the decision of the administration to bet on a previously almost invisible person to be the next president of our country.

I mean, the senatorial slate of the administration party has people who have been very much visible compared to Gibo Teodoro. How is it that they chose him?

Also, I have read that Gibo Teodoro is just some sort of decoy and the current President of the Philippines, PGMA, actually, has her eyes on Manny Villar as the next president of the Philippines. How true can such an issue be?

And how about a religious leader as the next president of this country? Any takers?

Yes, Eddie Villanueva still believes he can win this race despite the fact that he hardly got votes in the previous presidential elections. Though, it is true, that we can’t erase the fact that the results of the previous elections are very controversial.

And Manny Villar. The one person in all of the 10 candidates who insists in being the one who is the real and true person of the rags. And the one person with, obviously, the most advertisements in the airwaves these days.

The election period has not even ended, or better, has just started, and he has already been accused of planning to get back on his expenses by using the people’s money once elected.

However, he answered confidently that he is not going to do so because all his expenses wouldn’t matter because everything he is doing is for the realization of a dream – a dream to remove Juan dela Cruz from poverty.

Which is more believable?

The Philippines, unfortunately, ranks among the top most corrupt countries in the world which is not a good thing whichever angle you try to view it from.

That’s just some of the questions this mind can find.

But there are more important questions at hand….

How are we to make a wise decision at a time like this? At a time when politics have almost become one with show business.

Or, does our individual voices still matter given the existence of “vote buying” here in the Philippines? Or, once our vote has been bought, can we still find the courage to give our vote to the one we chose, instead of giving the vote to the buyer?

Crackers are everywhere as the recent website infiltrations show. Will our voices still matter given the fact that the people who have the power can just gather a team of crackers and change the results of the elections in their favor?

Or, do we really even have a voice?