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Elections are over. The votes are now being tallied.
One broadcaster described our electoral system as "archaic and medieval." I couldn't say it better myself. I doubt that the obstacle to modernizing the electoral system is funding— after all, elections aren't a daily event. In fact, this year's elections were supposed to be the first time the count would be automated. That plan was scrapped, of course.
The current system of manual counting allows unscrupulous candidates to cheat. There is also a large potential for error. Automating the counting process will stop cheating and reduce errors.
In the words of Randy David, in this country if you don't win the elections, you can claim to have been cheated.
Sadly, automation seems but a dream. Why would any politician in his right mind want to change a system which put him into power in the first place?
Last night, I went to my aunt's house to celebrate her birthday. My dad and two of my uncles were discussing the elections and Philippine politics in general.
My dad raised an interesting point. Politics in the Philippines is big business. A lot of politicians are in the game because of the added perks. Philippine politics isn't quite public service. Rely German, Erap's campaign manager during the 1998 elections, described in an interview on GMA 7's The Probe Team how much it takes to win an election. "100 million," he said bluntly, "anything less than that— don't even think of campaigning."
With that amount of money invested in a political post, politicians have all the reason to try to earn money from their newly-gained power. Any businessman who invests in a venture expects to have a return on his investment.
The National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) is planning to file gross negligence charges against the Comelec. A lot of old problems have cropped up during this year's elections, problems that the NAMFREL says could have been avoided.
When an election goes awry, the first to take the blame is the Comelec. Even in school politics, when there is a failure of elections the school's Comelec is expected to take responsibility for it.
The sad part is the Comelec commissioners are mostly greenhorns. With the exception of Commissioner Borra, all the Comelec commissioners have not managed a major election before. Four of the commissioners were appointed by Estrada, while the others were appointed by GMA.
I'm still annoyed at the Comelec. As I previously mentioned, I'm one of the many disenfranchised youth who were not able to register. Apparently, even registered voters were disenfranchised because of the arbitrary voter's lists given to the election officials in the various precincts.
The Comelec is a crucial part of our democracy. If we cannot fix our electoral system, starting with the Comelec, how can we expect to progress?
© the Lizard's asylum 2001.
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