It’s hard to lead a normal life when you are a Filipino. There are times when you just want to do the right thing but other people prevent you from doing so. Take voting during an election as an example. It should be a pretty straightforward exercise. You wake up, eat your meal, fix yourself up and then go out and vote. Sadly, in the Philippines, it’s not that simple. Just when you think that you had done your part, say, in writing your chosen candidate down on the ballot sheet, suddenly it turns out someone else had already done it for you while you slept the night before!
Noynoy Aquino boldly stated during the campaign period that if there is a failure of elections and the people’s will is frustrated, there will be demonstrations that could make recent protests in Thailand seem “mild” by comparison. It is really unfortunate that he was only speaking for himself and not for the rest of the candidates. It is unfortunate too that the people who would presumably join these “demonstrations” are only willing to protest if he lost the election. If the allegations of massive cheating that are circulating around are true, we can actually consider what transpired on the 10th of May a failure of elections.
The latest news reports reveal that there are now four whistleblowers that have come out to testify that there was massive cheating involved during the election. How’s that for a popular mandate? The Comelec must have thought that Vox Populi meant “rigged the votes” in Greek. Here’s something from The Daily Tribune:
The 4th whistleblower was interviewed by ABS-CBN reporter Sheryl Mundo and shown on TV Patrol, saying that the votes of Gilbert Teodoro were shaved by 5 million, Erap Estrada by 4 million and Eddie Villanueva by 2 to 3 million. The unidentified whistleblower’s video was presented by Buddy Cunanan, son of Belinda Cunanan and a Manila Times columnist at a CBCP forum. He said their cheating scheme was planned and in place three months before the elections and they were offering guaranteed votes at P20 per vote. At least seven candidates have already revealed that they were offered guaranteed votes by brokers representing the syndicate.
Why are these reports falling on deaf ears? Why aren’t there any loud objections? Could all the brouhaha stirred up by Noynoy Aquino about who’s going to administer his oath swearing just a distraction from the massive cheating that could have been undertaken to put him in Malacanang? Why aren’t these allegations being investigated? Noynoy Aquino, the man they say is full of integrity is now letting all these allegations slide. Their camp is probably hoping that monsoon rains will wash the issue down the drain in time for his 30th of June swearing in.
You can accuse me of sour graping all you want but I say it’s a long way to the top if Noynoy wants to rock n’ roll. It’s not like I know these whistleblowers personally, but if you ask me, I don’t understand why Filipinos like them always develop a conscience after the deed had been done. Perhaps maybe someone didn’t pay them the agreed amount? These allegations have merits because even the 86 – member International Observers Mission reported that “The elections were not peaceful or violence free. Neither were the elections fair or honest.”
Commenter Elena provided a link to a video of the press conference by the People’s International Observers Mission on the conduct of the 2010 elections in the Philippines and I am not ashamed to say that tears just started rolling down my cheeks halfway through watching it. All of the foreign observers concluded that there was massive cheating involved during the election. It was not the machines that were a problem but the presence of elements that should not have been involved in the election. One foreign observer had to fight back her tears while she was talking and said that being an older lady, she had never before witnessed something as blatant as the cheating in the Philippines. They felt so sorry for the Filipino people who were expecting a clean and smooth election on the 10th of May. Instead they witnessed a chaotic scene with strong military presence and intimidation in and around the polling stations. The following is a summary of their observation all throughout the country:
Serious and systematic irregularities:
– Vote buying
– People lining up outside the candidate’s house
– There was no privacy in the polling stations
– People could see what the voter is writing
– The ballot sheet could not be folded to cover the information
– There were voters who were not stamped with indelible ink
– There were voters who were stamped with ink before voting
– There were people taking pictures and videos of voters for intimidation purposes
– Police and military presence was strong.
– There was no voter autonomy on the voters part
– Party workers inside the polling centres were filling in the forms for the voters
– There were machines that malfunctioned
– There were occasions when the international observers were not allowed inside
– Strong intimidation and harassment by the military and civilians who had no business being in the polling stations.
I encourage you to watch the video because one international observer who was assigned at the Pampanga and Tarlac region even specifically mentioned that intimidation was rampant in Hacienda Luisita. These observations made by outsiders who are completely unbiased should shame us to high heavens. I cannot comprehend why our public officials allow these things to happen. As one lady said, “I can only pray for the Filipino people that those who are elected keep their promise. In our family, a promise is a promise and it should not be broken.” They praised the teachers manning the machines who tried their best to prevent fraud from happening and the voters who lined up for hours waiting for their turn to exercise their right.
There you go my fellow Filipinos. We have again demonstrated to the international community that we are good at something. We are good at cheating in every way. Even with an automated system, the cheating can be done before the ballot sheet even reaches the machine. It’s like nothing the observers have seen before. It might even be something to be proud of if you are that sick. It should really shame us because we find all these things normal and shrug it off as part of our culture. In absolute terms, though, it is really so despicable that these things happen.
The question is: Is there anyone out there who cares that there was massive cheating during the election? Another question is: Is Noynoy’s win legitimate or not? It may be starting to become starkly obvious that democracy was nowhere to be found on the 10th of May. I believe the so called mandate is something that so called avid Noynoy supporters would like to cling on to keep their own sanity intact. They may be dreaming.
I think that we should really consider what happened on the 10th of May possibly massive failure to add into our history books — a failure to hold a smooth and honest election and a failure to prevent Noynoy from garnering a manipulated vote. I feel like going out into the streets but that too would be too shameful.