AS THE start of the local election campaign period is set on March 30, it may again open the floodgates as the public would then be inundated with all sorts of campaign materials and spiels, as well as candidates making the rounds, one after the other. Campaign streamers, posters, and banners would also litter the streets, with politicians and election regulators not caring even a bit that the election laws clearly states that campaign paraphernalia should be posted in designated common poster areas. Of course, this is aside from the fact that the same law also calls for strict dimensions of posters and streamers. Then there are the round-the-clock campaign rallies organized in every populated areas, as candidates get the chance to praise themselves as they enumerate their supposed virtues and values that make them deserving to be elected into the offices they are after. To top it all, vehicles equipped with all kinds of speakers imaginable would be making the rounds blaring the candidates’ respective campaign jingles as early as six in the morning. Through all these, one may be tempted to blurt out: “If you are really intent on serving the public, go kill yourself!”
But seriously, this year’s elections could become the turning point in our countries stories—and quite miserable—history. As bandied about by most, this year’s election serve as a referendum on Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s leadership. And as it is, it is quite understandable the way the administration is making sure that their senatorial line-up would make it; never mind if they are mostly hogging the coattails of opposition candidates in surveys. What is quite unthinkable, however, is the fact that the administration is poised to use local officials—seeking re-election or otherwise—towards this end by dangling support, in all kinds and sizes, in exchange of their endorsement of administration bets. It may have crossed their minds that their leader’s endorsement—the President—would not do in the face of her not-so-glowing approval ratings. And it is where the danger lies in the election as it may not just be mere endorsement from local officials these senatorial candidates would get.
Of course, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
Nevertheless, the people in this part of the country must now truly understand that should they give in to the temptation of electing officials just so because they talk nice or they spend big should also be aware that they will be the losers in the end.
Elections in this country may be entertaining, hilarious even, but the Filipino electorate had not learned their lessons well. And as Santayana said, “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat them.”
And as the Philippine governance, both in the local and national level, goes around the vicious cycle of having one corrupt and inept leader after the other, it is of no wonder why the country had been left biting the dust of our neighbors in terms of economic development.
Politicians are known to say the right things even if it sounds stupid and hypocritical enough during election season. They may even dish out a song or dance numbers. And as the circus takes over the country, we have to remember that it is not free.
As much as real circuses charge payment from audiences, so would this national circus—otherwise known as May 2007 synchronized elections—be charging the electorate should they miss a beat and elect undeserving officials.