Time to vote
So after more than seven months since the filing of candidacies and the overheated campaign period that had been among the most divisive in this country’s political history, it has now come down to this.
From Aparri to Jolo, more than 50 million Filipinos will troop to the country’s polling precincts to vote for the country’s next president, vice president, senators and members of congress.
They will also vote for the mayors, vice mayors, councilors, governors, vice governors and provincial board members that will serve them for the next three years.
Oh, there’s also the one party-list group they need to vote to complete their list. Or they can undervote as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded all voters repeatedly.
What’s important now is for every able Filipino to cast their votes and make their choice of leaders in relative peace and comfort and for today’s elections to be clean, fair, transparent, honest and quick.
It cannot be emphasized enough that today’s elections need to be all those things if only to reaffirm the Filipino’s individual and collective faith in the country’s democracy and its government.
The last few days of the campaign period have not only become the most heated but the most polarizing in recent memory, no thanks to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial statements that have gotten the ire of conservatives and his political opponents and resulted in a barrage of vicious verbal and written exchanges with the mayor’s supporters in all forms of media, particularly social media.
Amid their active online campaign propaganda, Duterte and his supporters and allies have foisted on the public a scenario in which he would either win or be cheated of victory by his two closest opponents, Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe.
Among their claims of possible massive cheating in the elections is the reported meeting between representatives of Roxas and some high-ranking military officers in a Manila hotel.
Aside from that, as in unfortunately every election held in this country, they have little to no proof to sustain their allegations. Never mind if, against its advice, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) followed a Supreme Court ruling that requires the vote-counting machines to issue receipts to every voter, provided the receipts are deposited inside the precincts.
For now, we prioritize the safe, peaceful, orderly, clean and quick elections for the country’s voters. Even with the advent of partial automation, there will be critics and election operators who will question the integrity of the election process at every crucial turn.
It is up to the Filipino people to make sure that today’s partially automated election continues to sustain momentum and enable government to perhaps improve the election process and thus ensure the continuity of elective democracy.
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