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Ghost of the Past

I could imagine the shock of the ghost of the past catching up to haunt and hurt after all this time. That would be like having havoc while humming on the hammock. But I guess, sometimes, that’s the way it is. The ghosts of gone by get to you. I suppose the person/s involved was/were aware of the repercussions of the actions. Or was he? Or were they? Maybe, he/they thought they could get away with it. (Maybe that sounded presumptive.) Maybe, he/they thought nothing of it. Maybe, he/they thought it was just an everyday walk in the park that was not much of a big deal. On the other hand, maybe, he/they were fully aware and intentionally disregarded and violated rules , despite mastery of the procedures. Who could really tell? Maybe it was an innocent misjudgment or an intentional manipulation.

If you come to think of it, there were quite a number of violations that were committed during the local election period (and with that, I mean the last one), from the obscure to the obvious that I wondered if those were still considered as violations or there had been a change in policies. Oh, well. Was not there the deliberate distribution of bills (Were those one thousand peso bills?) at the headquarters of a certain candidate, with the recipients queuing up for the cash. When questioned about it in a debate, the candidate easily shoved the issue away by justifying his availability of money and his willingness to give it away (supposedly to help). Then, we heard nothing of it. I presume that no complaint was made. The commission in charge presumably made no investigation. It simply blew with the wind.

I waited for someone on a Holy Wednesday when work was already suspended for the afternoon and all employees could go home, except for some who were able to go back to the office later in the afternoon, missing out on the time that they could have gone home after 12. I asked the undeniably tired staff where they had gone from. They told me that they spent almost the whole day in some remote barangay, distributing food packs, for some creative campaigning for their boss who happens to be the incumbent official. To make things more interesting, this was during the height of covid restrictions when social distance was strictly observed and public gatherings were prohibited. And they got away with it.

Teachers and police officers were reminded against endorsing favored candidates. The same went with government employees. These group of people were directed to be neutral (although it was unnatural). No teacher or police officer or any government employee for that matter should stand on stage to openly yell a declaration of support or endorsement of a particular political slate. I think there were memoranda on such acts so everyone should have been aware. Come on, I guess it would have been usual for a person to support a candidate or a party, but to stand and stage and declare endorsement would already be tantamount to taunting the institution. I guess, the person/s involved forgot that even simple folk have cellphones with camera for photos and videos. So, now, less than a year after the election, ghost of campaign past finally caught up with the present day.

That makes me wonder. Why was the obvious doling out of cash overlooked? Why did the electioneering with food packs go under the radar? Why could not such be just swept under the rug, for the dirt to eventually be an undetected part of the floor? (Were not the candidates themselves aware of these movements? Why didn’t they pull the reins against them? Could they have approved of them all along? I guess, if it works and helps him/them win, why not? If so, what sort of leadership does that manifest?

I guess, that’s how it is. Rules don’t really serve to regulate respectability. Rules serve to profit those in power. Most of the time violations could be dismissed and disposed.

However, there are incidents in which even the most minor provision of guidelines could be brought to light and implemented. These minor details are magnified in the eyes of strategists or schemers who seek opportunities to strike at political opponents or workplace competitors. One violator could have gotten away with it because no adversary was able to use the violation. One violator could have been sanctioned because he/she was not too careful to hide his/her tracks. The rules then do not become devices for discipline and decorum, but weapons for distraction and destabilization.

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me…” -Psalm 43:3


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