Local politics: a reflection

When my friend and I joined the much vaunted automated election, me running as congressman in the First District and him on the Second District in the same City, he told me that it is going to be fun. And it was a lot of fun especially on my part, doing what most any candidate, would not dare even begin to introduce in the city’s entire political history. This is reaching out for more hands than time can possibly accommodate given the limited campaign period officially allowed by COMELEC. In other words, we did a house to house campaign across all areas within the first congressional district, something that perhaps, not even the re-electionist candidate has ever done nor will ever do as there had been some other better way within his disposal.

In such a campaign, the days were long and there seem to be more people than we can shake hands with. The next set of flyers we had printed in two-colors is 15,000 pieces and we give this out personally in exchange of a handshake, tap at the shoulder, or quick dialogue. Perhaps, there must have been about 4,000 to 7,000 pieces that have been distributed from the first set of flyers done on laser xerox. All in all, there must have been no less than 20,000 flyers handed in personally to our prospective voters. This campaign strategy allowed us time to expound on our simple platform as well as listen to what they desire or expect from their candidate. In this fashion, we were able to somehow maximize the potential of getting the votes from the more impoverished segment that inhabited this City – let us call them the “squatters” without meaning no offense. After all, there must be about 60% in the entire population who fall into this class category. In each household alone, there must be about 4 to 10 voting members unless the latest census from the NSO could tell otherwise.

As a cardinal rule, nothing replaces what could be described as ‘smooth interpersonal relationship’ that could only be gained, if and only if, people meet people on a face-to-face basis. As a matter of fact, not few who used to have chosen any of our rival candidates beforehand would change their mind right after a brief conversation in many of these visits. Many have pledged their support, individually as well as collectively in a resulting ‘meeting of minds’ over what we intend to do when we get elected. In other words, most of the people we have met and talked to agreed with us, believed in our sincerity, and more importantly, valued our visit as though no other candidate had done it before. But these are the facts in so far as the ‘squatter people’ are concerned – no single soul comes to them. Perhaps, it is because, another campaign strategy can be done by proxy. After all, has it not often been said that in this City, so-called “local leaders” are for hire? In fact, the same people are convenient conduits for vote-buying scheme by the more scheming candidates.

Our campaign is built on the idea that our simple way of having run our campaign remains the most effective way to earn votes. No right-minded individual could say otherwise. In our book, by reaching out to people on a person-to-person basis, we have removed the wall that isolates us from one another. In fact, we have bridged the gap that divides the elites and the proletariats, if we go by Marxist’s dialectical materialism. We have become affordable ‘products’ in the market and perhaps, as a ‘merchandise’ we can prove equal to the task expected of us, if and only if, the COMELEC election results could be held as true and accurate. But we have strong reason to believe otherwise.

In our given case, in particular, it is not far removed that this is so.
Something ought to have been pre-programmed electronically to insure this candidate x wins over candidate y. Such was in fact the claim from not few candidates who lost in this national and local election that IT experts would always revert back to the question of the source code that should have been supplied by COMELEC to the stakeholders especially on the basis of expressed demand. Fact is, the many supposedly added security measures in this election automation were all removed. Who can even tell if the vote that the vote for Candidate X will not be counted for Candidate Y, if we can speak here of program or commands hidden from our naked eye? Only those who have access and hold the “key” can tell us what went wrong. People, unfortunately, simply voted trusting that their votes will be counted to the candidates of their own choice.

The case of election results in the First District is, to my mind, is worth reflecting.

How I wish, any of the vaunted ‘random manual audit’ of the COMELEC will be so in this particular place. Perhaps, some work in forensic is even required. Are there forensic IT experts who can tell us if anything really went wrong in so far as the actual votes in the ballots entered into the PCOS machines are concerned? Or that nothing has even been pre-programmed into these digital furniture that therefore everything would reflect the true vote and the true count? Pray, tell us.

In the meantime, let us perhaps go over simple statistical data supplied by the COMELEC official website, www.ibanangayon.ph. I wish to enjoin students, researchers, scholars, and perhaps, survey stations to just revisit what went about in so far as the First District is concerned since offhand, I have serious grounds to believe them false especially from the point of view of a student in public administration whose PA 299.1 is under the tutelage of Prof. Ray Chang. Any x number of statistical lies has been too hastily constructed.

On my honor, I dare state I am not running again but I just want this social experiment analyzed by experts of whatever discipline. Or the curse on the poor folks would be like the Sword of Damocles hanged over their heads – now and in the future. Perhaps in the future, I would gladly expound more around this theme with a more than careful presentation of available figures and facts and the implications that could be deduced from a resulting analysis. As a famed intellectual says, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. To all the poor people I have shaken hands with, you occupy a niche in my heart and there is nothing I ever have regretted save the possibility that the election results were done by a sleigh of hand. But let enlightenment dawn upon us all!