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EDITORIAL: Of Scandalous Proportion

With the local and national elections over, it is the better part of pragmatic living to go back to the usual chores. The carpenter needs to sharpen his chisel. The farmer eagerly awaits for rain to fall to be able to till the land. For their part, the daily wage earners have to devise ways and means to make both ends meet.

That is the harsh reality of life in this country. After elections, the working class goes back to work in order to earn a living. It is time to forget the politicians’ promises, which from the very start, were made to be broken.

Those who have been lured by the sight of a few thousands of pesos in exchange for their sacred vote ought to accept the harsh reality that the very limited amount will easily be lost, probably in a day or two. Most probably the entire amount is already spent given the worsening economic condition, which in a few days will be felt the moment the bigtime increase of the petroleum products takes effect.

Condemning the rampant vote selling /buying is very convenient. But let us face it. The practice is the effect and not the cause. On the part of the buyer, the motive is very easy to pinpoint—greed. On the other hand, the seller’s reason for taking the money may also be easily traced to the pressing needs attributable primarily to poverty, which by the way has even reached the level of scandalous proportion.

There have even instances when some voters have been treated like commodities up for bidding for which reason the contending camps joined in what may be described as vote bidding. No wonder that in certain areas the bid price went as high as P5,000.00 per head. In some areas voters behaved like prostitutes by taking the money left and right, with the buyers presumably having knowledge about it.

The situation should bring us to ask this question—where did all the money come from? And unless the intention was purely with the noble cause of helping the needy without interposing anything in return, there is that strong prospect of retribution once it is discovered by the buyers that they have been taken for a ride. Use of violent means is not a farfetched occurrence.

In all probability, the transaction involved dirty money which is intended to be recovered by the winning candidates once in office. Consequently, graft and corrupt practices have to be resorted to. The moment this happens, the vote sellers have no one to blame but themselves. That serves them right.

But it is unfair to voters who opted to embrace the belief that suffrage is sacred and their vote is not for sale. They have been keeping their choices under wraps in order to leave and deprive the politicians and their ward leaders in the dark. Such vigilance has been spoiled by the misguided few.

Another repercussion lurking is the payback time. Those who resorted to vote buying have lost any respect to an elective office and treat the entire practice purely as a business, the ultimate objective of which is profit. That is the time when people will mount criticism against anomalies.

Sad to state, vote buying/selling has reached the stage of impunity with the society embracing it with callousness or helplessness.

Vote buying/selling is just one of the indicators that the entire electoral process has become a circus. Who wants to dance with the music? A very depressing choice.


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