The Impossible Integrity Pledge
posted 20-Jan-2019  ·  
710 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

“I sign this Integrity Pledge for free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections, and through my words and actions, commit to abide by the tenets of our Constitution, election laws, rules and regulations, respecting the sanctity of our electoral exercise. I will not employ any forms of violence, force/goons, gun or threat that may impair, impede, or unduly influence the free exercise of the people’s right of suffrage. I will not, directly or indirectly, yield to the “Permit to Campaign” and “Permit to Win” scheme or any extortion activities of the New People’s Army or any subversive group. I will not induce any individual/s to engage in any form of ballot buying. I promise to abide by my commitment as a candidate.

As a candidate seeking the people’s mandate in order to serve them, I shall respect the norms of conduct expected of a public servant and commit to run a clean campaign. I shall support for a prompt election result without seeking personal interest or material gain, observing fairness, common decency, honesty and good faith. Through my words and actions, I and all who stand with me, shall fight against all forms of discrimination and adhere to respectful treatment of human rights. I shall promote gender sensitivity in the campaign and I shall not tolerate any form of violence against WOMEN IN POLITICS and I shall take the lead to a zero violent election-related incident in my locality.

All these, I commit and subscribe to freely and voluntarily, fully accountable to Almighty god and to the Filipino people as my witnesses.”

Over a hundred local candidates signed this pledge, printed on a large tarpaulin, during the Unity Walk, Interfaith Prayer Rally and Peace Covenant Signing held by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and its deputized partner agencies last Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, which marked the start of the election period for the upcoming elections. Only one refused to sign the pledge, saying in a social media post that candidates violate its principles anyway during the campaign.

To the candidates, the COMELEC posed this question and answer combo: “How can we achieve a peaceful and orderly elections in this province this coming May 13, 2019 national and local elections? The answer lies mostly in you – not in the COMELEC, PNP, AFP and other COMELEC-deputized agencies.”

Public office is not the platform for pilfering and illegal wealth creation, the Commission intoned, it is about the unselfish service and welfare to the nation and the voting population. This basic principle is the essential foundation of an electoral mandate, it stressed.

True enough, this basic principle that asks candidates-turned-public officials to be upright and diligent in managing the resources and assets of the nation efficiently for the people’s benefit.

But the opposite has happened. Public office, especially for those occupying seats in Congress and local executive posts, has become an avenue for the unscrupulous in amassing wealth from commissions in government pork-barrel projects.

No wonder then that all the efforts of the COMELEC in campaigning for “peaceful, orderly, honest, free, fair and meaningful elections” have come to naught. For decades now, since the promise of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, all that has happened during elections in this paradise island can be reduced to a few choice words: very peaceful and orderly vote-buying.

Asking the candidates, the moneyed ones especially, to shun vote-buying and other underhanded strategies in an all-out effort to win would be asking them to do the impossible.

No wonder all of the nine candidates running for governor and congressman, multimillionaires all except for the three also-runs, did not show up at Plaza Rizal for the covenant signing: they all wanted to win.


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