The 2019 democratic circus begins…
posted 13-Jan-2019  ·  
615 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

This Sunday, Jan. 13, the election period for the May 13, 2019 national and local elections begins.

Pursuant to the Omnibus Election Code and other relevant laws, the following activities are prohibited during the period until June 12, 2019: alteration of territory of a precinct or establishment of a new precinct; transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service; bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons, unless authorized in writing by the Commission; use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, unless authorized in writing by the Commission; organization or maintenance of reaction forces, strike forces or other similar forces; and, suspension of elective local officials.

This ban on the obviously illegal activities is fine, but many citizens would rather see premature campaigning by local and national candidates included in the list.

The Commission on Elections has set the campaign period for candidates for seats in the House of Representatives as well as provincial and municipal elective officials this March 29 to May 11, 2019.

With over two months before the actual start of the campaign, tarpaulin signs from local bets have already sprouted along main roads and near places where people gather. Despite the signs not categorically calling on the readers to vote for the featured candidate, they highlight the supposed achievements of the candidates, especially reelectionists or graduating incumbents running for another position, in offering to the people their “sincere” services.

In this island where majority of voters decide on the last hour and on the basis of how much is offered for their individual votes, the subtle campaigning does not actually work and instead proves to be an unnecessary drain in precious resources.

Indeed, as one candidate for councilor proved in 2016, an aspirant can actually disappear from public view during the campaign as long as he has finished setting up his “distribution” network. The “last hour” is all that matters, political observers say, particularly if the bill stapled to the candidate’s flyer is of considerably higher value than his opponents’.

Of course, in even contests, the candidate who figuratively smells good for the electorate has an advantage. Past elections have seen bets who spent more money lose to the winner who had his heart close to his constituents.

With the start of the election period, the province’s registered voters should have ample time to consider each candidate’s qualifications, past and current performance, achievements, and their fitness for the position to which they aspires.

There are those who really wish to genuinely serve the public, but many are in the running simply for power, fortune or both.

Some are already in power and have amassed a fortune, but wants a different kind of power in another post. Some have amassed a fortune by other, legal means but want power so they could remain in their exalted status.

A few have neither power nor enough fortune, but sees in the current political situation a chance to institute needed reforms, thus aspires to captivate the people’s imagination and, like the candidates of olden days, win without buying votes. Their tribe has not vanished but their winning percentage, like the possibility of clean elections, is close to nil.


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