No less than a ranking member of the Commission on Elections admitted this week that the recent electoral exercise was the worse-ever in terms of vote-buying. That there has not been a solid case filed even at this time against any major politician involved says much about the integrity of the national poll results.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte practically endorsed vote-buying during the election campaign season, justifying the practice as necessary to mobilize the voters. For all intents and purposes, this must have encouraged the moneyed candidates to go all out.
The case of Palawan is no exception, as allegations of vote-buying have saturated the social media, a powerful platform for just about anybody’s grievances. At least one case of vote-buying in Puerto Princesa City was apparently filed in court. Whether it will progress into conviction remains to be seen, but the batting average of such legal recourse is practically nil.
Depending on what side of the political fence one sits upon, the results of the polling in Palawan is something for the books – we as a people catapulted actor and mediocre senator Lito Lapid as our top choice. Indicted plunderer Bong Revilla was our second choice. We also threw into our top mix Imee Marcos, the daughter of the country’s worst plunderer and dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Many have been quick to rant that such outcomes only demonstrate our collective ignorance as a people. They may be right, but would not go there yet at this point. To us, this particular election was but a mere reflection of the state of our democracy, flawed as it is.
Vote buying has worked because there were sellers as there were willing buyers. It is a singular transaction in our despicably poor life that speaks volumes about the importance of cash to us a people mired in collective poverty, damn whoever comes out on top of the polls.
We may have lost the elections as a people, but who really cares when there was food for the day.