Egay Uy .
CONRATULATIONS to many, and better luck next time to some others.
A total of 80 new and recycled barangay chairpersons and 560 barangay councilors will have successfully hurdled the elections last Monday. Sincerest congratulations to those who, without buying votes, won the elections. You really won that election.
There appears to be a snowballing call for voters to refrain from selling their votes to, according to some, the demons. Voters have become more conscious that selling and buying of votes are election offenses that could send the offenders to jail for up to six years.
And yet, there have been reports that votes were still sold and bought at amounts that were even higher than before. A group of candidates was reported to have bought votes at a total of P1,300 per voter.
Another voter said he earned P3 thousand not because he worked that day but because his and his family’s votes were bought by candidates.
Admittedly, curbing this illegal practice of mustering votes to get to office is difficult. The Comelec and other groups (XUHS ’70, PPCRV, Social Action Center, etc.) may have already been exasperated campaigning against this wicked practice of buying votes.
To some vote sellers, it’s “la-uya na gud ni, Sir.” To some others, it’s “ato ning dawaton kay kwarta ra man gihapon nis katawhan.” And then there are those who say, “Dawat kwarta, botar konsensya.” The problem with this is once money is received by the voter, makonsensya na man kung dili mobotar sa hagtahag.
Whatever its form and justification are, it is still vote-selling and -buying. Many Facebook posts show paper currency of various denominations stapled to sample ballots or lists of candidates. And there are even reports of arrests made by police officers of people caught in flagrante delicto of selling or buying votes.
While these are a good start, these are not enough to curb this wicked practice. The change has to start from the candidates themselves. Covenants of peace for the conduct of clean and honest elections are given much publicity – and rightly so – yet it seems the commitments made are only good for that specific moment.
No matter how we campaign to eradicate our elections of vote-buying and -selling, if the candidates will not be true to their commitments not to resort to this wicked practice, our elections will continue to be an exercise not of our right of suffrage but of making a mockery of our election laws.
To me, the real winners are those who lost in the counting but were voted upon by those who did not sell their votes.