An Open Letter to First-District Antipolenos

It took most of us about 4 to 5 hours of queuing in our respective cluster precints before we were able to get hold of the COMELEC ballot and choose whom we want to vote for our national as well as local leaders. We carefully blackened our choices with the appropriate COMELEC marking pen and then finally pushed it into the PCOS machine to await the congratulatory acknowledgement that indeed, our individual voice has been – honestly – counted to those whom we have chosen. Or so we thought.

So much has changed matter-of-factly. Low-lying posters covered the entire school premises where the precints are located. And what hanged are largely posters of the incumbents – mayor, congressman, and councilors – in the case of Antipolo City. What should be common poster area is a mere lip service from the lousy COMELEC that hardly knows how to do a critical job. At the very least, it should be COMELEC that should publicly display the roster of all candidates such that anyone who would even as much as tamper with it will be dealt with severely. In short, there ought to have been one huge tarpaulin for all official candidates displayed in publicly conspicuous places – at least to level the playing field. Or so we wish.

Come to think of it, from the time candidates can file their COCs to the very first day they can officially start to campaign had been a long wait. Certainly, the national candidates already made headway before the local candidates can even begin their own campaign style. No wonder then that candidates, national and local alike, compete for every available space – be them posts, trees, railings, arches, fences, street corners, whatever – God knows how much money went into this awesome display of tarpaulins that even violated the prescribed COMELEC size.

Now listen to me. And let me speak from the heart.

Have we gone on the sacred ritual of voting on the firm belief that no invisible hand will bastardize it? Have we entrusted the care to the members of the PPCRV whom we think must guard the sanctity of the PCOS machine as well as whatever digital card must be inserted into this digital box? Have we really trusted the whole procedure as free from any kind of intrusion, intervention, and interruption by those who may have access to the digital key? We left the PCOS machine after voting without a receipt. We do not know of any number mark on the ballot we used we could commit to memory.

Well, watch out.

I was your congressional candidate in the First District of Antipolo City along with four others. I had another pair of hand to run my campaign – another independent candidate running as city councilor – doing the same thing I am doing. Most of you know exactly how we did run our campaign style. You were witness, in fact, very patronizing of us primarily because our stated platform is to your highest appreciation – individually and collectively.

Developments as they unfold are quite disturbing. The COMELEC website, www.ibanangayon.ph, if obliquely, can live up to its name. Anyone with a sound background of statistics will be surprised to see those data as may be found in the internet or online as unabashedly incomprehensible in so far as the results on the First District are concerned. You be the one to tell me whether, by and large, those figures have basis in truth and in reality. You know what we did during the whole life of the short campaign period. Offhand, they are straight statistical lies no self-respecting individual can believe. From the entries on the congressional candidates alone onward to the rest of the entries, it is of highly dubious origin whether indeed, a straight win would have been statistically possibly given certain prevailing social mindset from the voting population of this City.

Scholars of public administration may do well to focus concerns on local politics as they might become bad replicas unworthy of emulation. In this sense, the case of local politics in Antipolo City makes for an interesting case study. From the simple point of view of an ordinary social scientist, any or all of those available results presented in the COMELEC’s Philippine Election Results in so far as the City of Antipolo is concerned can only be of doubtful validity on a per Cluster Precint basis. Some work in hard checking might even be necessary although that might necessitate reverting back to another counting mode. Are we to drift back to the first issue of a source code?

Like you, not few of us, are perhaps at a loss on whether or not, the results have been clean, fair, and honest. We can only pray that they represent the true voice of the people. Be it how history unfolds, I wish to express from the bottom of my heart – my highest sense of gratitude to the one thousand two hundred and two (as of 5:05 pm today, May 12, 2010) who voted for me.