Monday, May 10, 2010

Integrity in Elections

Oftentimes we critique the politicians for being corrupt, for having no integrity, for cheating their way to win and stealing money. This is bread-and-butter criticism for Philippine politics.

But every few years we get the chance to do something about it. We get the chance to participate in our elections and choose leaders. Some of us exercise our rights to do this - all well and good. Others don't. But beyond just voting, there are many who are even more involved in the electoral system.

These are the people who sit there, tally the votes, service the machines, who work with the government, Comelec or the many organizations who do the actual, ground-level work of putting the votes together or monitoring it. These people have their opinions and votes as well, many of them passionate about their choices and opinions regarding their candidates.

It occurred to me then, as I listen to various rumors, reports, comments from the radio, over text, the TV, the internet and other mediums - news of threats, strong-arm tactics, intimidation, sabotage, cheating and so many other things, that these very people who are on the field and going about are responsible for such operations.

You can always point upwards and say, 'So and so is corrupt' and blame a particular figure. But what if you're the actual man or woman on the spot, if you're right there at ground-zero - able to influence a move, an action, or operation to do things which ruin the votes of people who have happened to vote AGAINST your candidate?

Would you cheat, sabotage, or otherwise compromise and interfere with the votes of other people to make your own candidate win?

This is the question that I wonder about - and I fear that some people might not even ask themselves when they happen to be part of the system.

Or even worse, that they're aware that what they're doing is against the law - both that of the land and of ethical/moral law, and they persist in it. These are people who knowingly support a person who is of inadequate competence and character, and act in a way to prop him or her up with underhanded means.

We cannot only blame those up in power - because the corrupt only can attain their position because of the actions of the machinery that supports and allows them to attain such a position.

The question of integrity falls not to just our leaders, who in a time like our elections are forced to respect the numbers coming from the polls, but to all of us who are down there, casting our votes and those who should make sure that our votes are tallied properly, fairly and honestly.

God help the Philippines. We need it, each and every citizen.

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