Circus in the barangays

By Editorial May 15,2018

The barangay and youth council elections held across the country on Monday left much to be desired though authorities deemed them generally peaceful.

Many voters were disenfranchised.

They came early to the polling stations only to find out that their names were missing from the official list of voters.

Whatever happened to the online precinct finder that had been accurate in leading an elector to his voting precinct?

The previously working precinct finder had been a boon to the electoral process.

It should be restored to working order.

We have a national election in less than a year.

On May 14, many candidates were elected though they were not qualified for the posts they sought, on account of age.

Now the Commission on Elections stands in the awkward position of having to nullify the victories of many winners.

This would not have been the case had the commission been more efficient in releasing the official list of candidates.

Verifying the eligibility of candidates should be streamlined.

Those who run should know the rules that govern their candidacy.

That they ran in spite of being ineligible speaks volumes of their ignorance of the law, an ignorance that ill fits their advertisement of worthiness to be on the frontlines of government service.

Vote-buying was rampant in several places in spite of multimedia campaigns by various sectors against the commercialization of the vote.

Some of those who received money said they nevertheless voted for their real candidate of choice.

That does not make the circulation of cash in time of suffrage any less sacrilegious.

It is not enough to make vote-buying a spectacle on social media as has occurred in the polls.

The practice will not stop until someone or some people are prosecuted, tried, and penalized for their violations.

“In Bantayan Island,” this paper reported, “seven persons were arrested past 10 p.m. on Sunday, the eve of the elections, for allegedly engaging in vote-buying.”

The report continues: “Seized from the suspects were 19 white envelopes containing P50 each and sample ballots with the names of candidates in Barangay Botigues.”

Let the authorities bring these suspects to the fullness of justice. Electorates far and wide need exemplars showing that the State does not tolerate the sacrifice of the vote on the altar of Mammon.

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