For the first time in my life that was yesterday morning at around 7:40 AM, I cast my first electoral vote in my life where I chose 12 senators, 1 party-list, 1 district representative, 1 governor, 1 vice governor, 2 provincial board members, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, and 8 municipal councilors of my town in Argao, Cebu. I went early to the Argao Central Elementary School at around 6 AM and while the polls had never started, I was roaming around the polling place and I found out the Board of Election Inspectors only posted the list of voters by the time I passed in some polling precincts. The PCOS machines had never been operated even beyond 7 AM in some precincts because technicians never came on time. Nevertheless, my polling precinct, where happened to be my classroom when I was Grade One, had opened, 20 minutes past 7 AM and I was able to join the first batch of voters in line and by around 7:35 AM, the BEI gave my the ballot and I started to vote my candidates who deserved my trust.
After I cast my vote, I returned immediately home and monitored the voting process through social media websites of Facebook and Twitter and established media websites like GMA 7. As I monitored, some of my Facebook friends all over the country complained several problems like PCOS machine malfunction, BEI’s non-issuance of receipts, vote buying inside the polling places, and others. On the same day, I went three times to my polling place to monitor the voting process. Fortunately, when the 7 PM came, the BEI were already preparing for the counting process in the precinct level and hours later, they submitted the results to the Municipal Board of Canvassers for transmission to the COMELEC headquarters in Manila.
While I was monitoring the senatorial election results at around 9 PM online, I was pissed off but unsurprised with the results where Grace Poe emerged in the first place and Nancy Binay in the fifth place in which until this moment of writing, they still hold their respective places as the votes are still counting. Not only that, convicted former president, Joseph Estrada won the mayoral race in the country’s capital, Manila over Alfredo Lim which pissed me off further. Pissed off because many of my compatriots voted according to family name not competence and experience and in fact, I ranted my disappointment to the people especially those who voted them online and realized that we will not going to move on unless we and the political elites realized our system is rotten at its core. Unsurprised because they were expected to win because of voters’ ignorance in voting candidates.
I realized that ignorance among voters was very endemic and cannot be fixed with short-term freebies by winning candidates, but uprooting the cause of the problem of our political and economic system embedded in our 1987 constitution. The ignorance of the people has been exploited by the politicians under the flawed system of voting candidates especially for senator. The senatorial race has become a popularity contest for the past 25 years and my entire lifetime, I never experienced a real contest on who should be the senator or in any elected position in our country through platforms but personalities, pities, freebies, broken promises, and many others. As a result, those who have enough billions can win a Senate seat or any elected position regardless of lack of experience, education, competency, knowledge, credibility, and sensibility. Those who are less informed due to poverty, have been exploited by these elite people in the name of “general welfare”.
My question to the voters, when will we learn from our mistakes of choosing leaders who could have uplifted us from poverty?. My question to the political and economic elites, when will you lose your respective grips in political and economic aspects of our country?. I think if I were to force the people and the political/economic elites to answer my question, they would say, I don’t know when.
Unless we realized that our political and economic system are rotten in their core, I think we will going to suffer more humiliations in our respective lives and keep ranting the faults of our country.