On May 13, Filipino voters will cast their votes for the mid-elections. Filipinos will choose their leaders both for local and national positions.
Much has been said about voters not selling their votes. The Commission on Elections has issued statements reminding the public that vote buying is an election offense and its commission will send one to jail.
Various civic and church- based organizations have also conducted voters education to teach voters on what to look for in candidates.
Unfortunately, the poll body amid all its rules and statements discouraging vote buying, lacks ‘teeth’. In Palawan, the COMELEC said it is investigating a vote buying case but it did not give details.
How can you prove vote buying really? Who will witness against it? It is a case of the buyer and seller conniving to commit a crime.
It is a tolerated act in the culture of Philippine elections. In short it is acceptable. Who can say no to money in this Third World country of ours.
It is in this context that the Filipino voters go to the polls on Monday. How we vote will speak of who we are as a people. What are the values that we believe in?
Voting while an individual act of choice that affects many. For many Filipino voters, it is a dilemma. Vote for candidates for short time benefits or vote for candidates based not on individual whims or loyalties but for patriotism.
We cannot and should not be judgmental for those who are grappling with the not so easy choice. We could only pity them and pray for their enlightenment.
As we go to our polling precincts, let us remember that the electoral exercise is beyond our individual choices and greed. When we cast our votes, it is for the future of our cities, towns, provinces and country. It is for our children’s future.