Pros­ti­tuted elec­toral sys­tem

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

SORRY, I couldn’t find a bet­ter de­scrip­tion of our elec­toral sys­tem than to re­late it with the con­di­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion, that of a sys­tem where power and money com­mands the phys­i­cal and dig­nity of a per­son.

Some may not agree with me, but none­the­less I give them my full re­spect even as I pushes my stand­point on the is­sue.

I am deeply sad and an­gry that un­til now elec­tions in our coun­try has not ma­tured both as a sys­tem of ex­er­cis­ing our right to suf­frage, and as cit­i­zens seek­ing struc­tural and so­cio-eco­nomic re­forms.

Our elec­toral sys­tem is eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated, worse, bought by the oli­garchs and their cor­po­rate part­ners.

Most of us know that cam­paign­ing for po­si­tions for the Se­nate and the Lower House re­quire big war chest for can­di­dates.

Who can with­stand cam­paign­ing for three months and na­tion­wide with­out ma­chin­ery, money and pri­vate army? Only the oli­garch politi­cians.

Who can have their faces and names quickly and eas­ily heard and seen in strate­gic cor­ners of the coun­try ex­cept those who can buy ex­pen­sive air time and tele­vi­sion slots?

It is what the sys­tem im­plic­itly dic­tates and de­mands. The sys­tem is not for the poor and pro­gres­sive can­di­dates. It is for those with money.

The sys­tem does not also pro­vide con­trols against those who have been in­dicted for high crimes like plun­der. So, we see the same old faces bet­ting again.

The elec­toral sys­tem also of­fer lip ser­vice to fair and trans­par­ent elec­tions, but in re­al­ity it is lax on the bets of oli­garchs and rul­ing party.

I give ex­cep­tion to few can­di­dates from pro­gres­sive and militant party-lists who have to de­pend largely on their or­ga­nized mass base and cre­ative­ness and re­source­ful­ness.

The sad­dest thing is that a siz­able seg­ment of our vot­ers have not ma­tured enough to re­sist the sys­tem and the politi­cians.

I don’t blame them for their re­peated sub­mis­sion to the politi­cians and their er­rand dogs.

It’s not that they don’t want change, it’s their low po­lit­i­cal con­scious­ness, and lack of or­ga­ni­za­tional and po­lit­i­cal ca­pac­ity to re­sist the money, ma­chin­ery and the bul­lies of big politi­cians, and ques­tion the whole sys­tem.

So long as the peo­ple are weak, the sys­tem will con­tinue to ap­pear strong and ir­re­sistible.

This is a chal­lenge for the party lists, sec­toral mass or­ga­ni­za­tions, com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tions, civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions (CSOS), de­vel­op­ment ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions (NGOS), hu­man rights groups, the churches, aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions and other vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tions like the PPCRV and Nam­frel.

Un­der our pros­ti­tuted elec­toral sys­tem, it takes an or­ga­nized and con­certed re­sis­tance to con­front and put the sys­tem and big politi­cians on the de­fen­sive. Un­for­tu­nately, most of our peo­ple have yet to achieve that ca­pac­ity; spon­ta­neous ac­tions can’t push them back.*

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