One man, one million votes

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THE candidates for the Senate will be focusing their energies in the coming week on getting the “command votes” of religious and other groups, said re-electionist Senator Gregorio Honasan of the supposedly, but not quite oppositionist, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“Command votes,” said former Army Colonel Gregorio Honasan, “will prove crucial in getting the voters who are still undecided on their 12 choices (for senator) this late stage in the campaign.”

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As predictable as fairy tales

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BOTH in terms of how they’re being conducted and their possible results, the elections of 2013 are shaping up as expected.

Name recall and membership in a well-known political family are what most of the leading candidates for senator have in common. That’s in addition to huge war chests, of which a significant portion is being poured into political ads, particularly after the Supreme Court struck down the Commission on Elections resolution limiting media ad exposure to 120 minutes each.

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Mock elections

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NO, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) wasn’t describing the one activity many Filipinos think makes this country a democracy. It wasn’t mocking the elections over which it has oversight — although maybe it should have been.

What the Comelec did was conduct a trial run of the entire ballot-casting process, from the initialization of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to the transmission of votes from the precinct level to the municipal canvassing centers, then to the provincial canvassing centers, and finally, to the national Comelec computer server.

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The new normal

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WHAT’S A Philippine election for that one should once more be inflicted on us?

It’s certainly not so the citizenry can elect new leaders–or even remotely better ones, that possibility being nil with the dominance of a handful of dynasties over the political system. Neither is it so the political system can demonstrate how peaceably power is won, and the validity of Philippine democracy re-affirmed. As occasions for violence and for ringing in the same old leaders and the same old policies, elections demonstrate how damaged democracy is in this country.

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Philippine Idol

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IF Erap can be President, why can’t I be a city councilor, or a mayor—or even a congressman or senator?

No one has done a survey on it. But anecdotal evidence suggests that almost every celebrity in this country—its actors, singers, TV anchors, and at least one boxer—have at one time or another considered running for public office, and what’s more, have made good on that threat.

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