Bencyrus Ellorin .
NOW that the barangay election is over, let us start thinking about who will be the next president. Forget the 2019 midterm elections, that does not matter anymore.
The barangay election is more intimate. It is about families, neighbors, childhood firends and teenage sweathearts who either band together or bang each others’ head.
But even as it flayed some of the strongest relationships, there is one factor that obviously made a substantive impact on the results: vote-selling and -buying.
The vote, thought to be a sacred instrument for the citizenry, the source of all government power and authority to choose who will lead the political agencies of government, has become a commodity.
People openly, albeit illegally, offer their votes to the highest bidder. In some instances, supporters of a candidate, to start with, will send signals that they will not go out and vote if they do not receive monies stapled to sample ballots. Even close relatives, the default voters of a candidate, despite knowing how hard put their next of kin is in raising campaign funds, would still demand their share of the illegal money.
What could be the reason for this?
Are we in such a bad share economically that voters, like zombies, go on a feeding frenzy on the eve of each election day.
Is it feudalism or that feudal culture where the thinking is that since we do not benefit from the fruits of the land, we might as well kowtow with everything they want us to do but this time, with a twist: give favor in the form of loose change.
Is it cultural? Like the dowry system in patriarchal societies where a family pleads with the family of the woman. In exchange, they give the family of the woman valuables like a cow, carabao, carbines, cash, car, and what-have-they. Yes, politicians woo the voters to win. Could it be that in return for their vote or would-be vote, the candidate will reciprocate it with a pahalipay in the form of crisp bill or bills? In any of the plausible explanations that crossed my mind, not one could be right.
Election is an accountability mechanism in our government. You perform well, the electorate will reaffirm and reward that with another election victory. You perform bad, goodbye elective position.
In reality however, performing bad has become the default. Spending less for public services, getting kickbacks and commissions in exchange of favors has become a necessity sort of for politicians. They have to ramp up their savings to have that fat campaign kitty come campaign season.
People should realize that the people they elect are supposed to be real servants, enablers in government, which are the instruments of the state to fulfill the will and aspiration of the people.
Have we become ignorant on how our government runs?
Have we become that lawless?
Have we, as a people, lost rectitude?
If so, let it be enacted into law that only those who have money and swear to spend lots of money to buy votes will be allowed to run for public office.
This reminds us of Anne Curtis screaming: “I can buy you, your family…” The likes of her could be the next President.
It’s only that she was on a drunken streak and got away with it with her showbiz career soaring high. But the country is, well, not quite different — neither sober and taking a nosedive.