A voter’s responsibility did not begin nor end yesterday, May 14. So where have I been lately? True to my words, I did try to protect the votes of the Filipino people. I served with PPCRV at my parents’ precinct in Batangas. And I went (with Kalinagan’s Interim Secretary-General, John Joshua Duldulao) at the City Canvasing of Votes at Quezon City. We’re going again tomorrow as soon as canvasing starts and before our first class). With the help of the Commission, we’ve been doing our part in protecting your votes. We cannot protect all your votes. Please do your part.
Notes from the field:
The people wants alternative. The choices shows a change in the current electorate. The people wants a new breed of leaders and are starting to stay away from the Trapos. I know that as voter educators we’re not suppose to endorse candidates (something I tried so hard to avoid in the part one of this letter), but had I been given the chance to vote last May 14, three persons will surely make it on my ballot: Paredes, Bautista and Sison (Ang Kapatiran). These are the new breed of leaders that the country needs. Sadly to few know them. When I was observing the polls at Batangas, they get only about 3-5 votes per precinct. The thing is, if a voter votes for one of them, surely the rest are on the list. I could just hope that they got more media attention for the people to know them better.
There are still vote-buying. Walang bibili ng boto kung walang nag-bibili ng boto. (translation: no one will buy votes if no one sells them.) But like what Soliman said on a TV interview, when people are hungry and have an uncertain future, they do not think for three years. They just think about the here and now. And in the here and now, a measly 500 pesos or a kilo of rice is enough to make a difference. But we cannot blame poverty for everything. Something must be done.
More election rules violations. There are still people giving away election fliers inside the schools where polling is being held. Candidates still campaigning on the night before the election (even worse, vote-buying). And even foods from the candidates (with stickers of candidate’s name) given to the Board of Election Inspectors during the counting.
Missing names, dead people on the voters’ list. A problem that we face ever since I can remember. Please do present a death certificate of your deceased relatives to the election office before the election to remove their names in the voters’ list. And please check the voters’ list for your name days or weeks before the election (this is usually posted at the COMELEC office weeks before or you may ask you Election Officer about it so there will be time to re-check the voters’ list).
Intensive media coverage. This election has gotten more media attention and an even more extensive coverage than the 2001 Presidential Elections. This added a little credibility to the electoral process and showed the people’s skepticism.
COMELEC: The election was generally peaceful and orderly. A peaceful and orderly election does not imply a clean and credible election. The votes are still being counted. Please be vigilant. Protect your votes.
The election and the voters’ responsibility does not end until the local officials and the 14th congress are seated. Your votes are still being counted and therefore not official. Your voices are still not counted and therefore not heard. Be vigilant. ABS-CBN was right in saying, “BOTO MO IPATROL MO!” The fight is not yet over. The votes are still being counted. Get involved in the country’s largest fight and the real people power!
(more to come after the city canvasing of votes and the senatorial canvasing of votes. After that I’ll be catching up with what’s happening in the security community. And just thought you’d know, I’ve finally realized the real meaning and importance of the security triad, CIA. I’ll tell you more about it some other time.)