The Sunday Times
Sunday, May 20, 2007

The most blatant immoral practice in the last election is vote-buying.

Are the majority of politicians so immoral that they will engage in this illegal and immoral practice?

Others point to the voters themselves as the ones who are so immoral because they require candidates to buy their votes. (See the personal account of former congressman and former Subic Bay administrator Felicito Payumo on page A5.)

In every election widespread locally driven vote-buying has been observed.

Vote buying by local politicians and their supporters was alleged to be especially prevalent in many parts of the country this time and in 2004. Rarely is actual buying witnessed, however.

Witnesses describe the various details of how proof of a voter’s vote is done so that the bought voter can be paid the closing installment.

Even churchmen have been giving their flock the advice that it is all right to take the bribe, but don’t vote for the bribe-giver’s candidate.

The New People’s Army’s collection of permit top campaign fees is unethical to some—and a real crime to the Department of Justice and the military and the police. The communist revolutionary outlook finds the practice perfectly all right.

Another practice that is alleged to be immoral is the use of state resources by incumbents at every level of government. This is however also done even in the United States.

Are new laws needed to address this complaint?

Given a lot of popularity by the specific tirade against it by former senator Francisco Tatad is the penchant to create political dynasties. It is not only against the Constitution, it is also immoral. And yet, candidates have defended themselves by citing the absence of an enabling law to operationalize the basic law’s antidynasty provision.

Dynasties are seen by economists and political scientists as serious impediments to democratic development.

The campaign spending laws must also be properly implemented so that the immoral use of sheer wealth to gain an advantage against an opponent is finally stopped.

The latest incidents of vote-buying and other immoral acts have happened, apparently, in Mindanao once again.

To some observers, it is immoral for the ruling regime to suspend mayors who are against the administration during the election period. This is a view that seems to be shared by the voters. It appears that Mayor Jejomar Binay’s and Pewee Trinidad’s suspension has given them a boost against the Palace-backed candidates.

The morally murky state of Philippine elections has made distrust of public officials the prevailing sentiment.

Most Filipinos have no faith in the electoral system. And except for a few—who are often those who lose because of their idealism—politicians as a race is seen to be vile people.

Remarks:

Vote buying is very rampant but if only we know the importance of our votes, vote buying will be nil. But maybe because of economy? Maybe because of that we connect it as part of our political culture? I think no meaning at all, its alright to received but our conscience must be followed if whom we are going to put in the senate, congress, local officials. Nasa atin din ang pasya...