Vote buying, if it does exist, is undemocratic. It is one form of ‘clientelism’ and it benefits only that candidate who can give away awesome amounts of money in exchange of patronage. If done by an incumbent elective official, it seems logical that more serious attention should be given to this emerging social scene and scheme. In fact, it should not be allowed to take place.
Ironically, it did take place right within open public view. We refer to the case of one barangay in the First District of Antipolo City where tricycle drivers from various TODA groups within the barangay all trooped to that barangay, joined the long queue, and received what look like one piece of siopao, pansit in a pack of styrofoam, a roll of tarpaulin, a brown envelope with P100 in it. They all must be a few hundreds who came to benefit from what this ‘social dividend’ if we may even call it that.
If this little incident happened as sort of a legitimate activity, it must have been incumbent upon the barangay captain to peruse whether or not such ‘ration’ (euphemism for vote buying) should have taken place in the first place. The barangay captain ought to have been aware, whether or not he is in his office when this food rationing was being done. The money looks like the main stimulus given the low appeal of a piece of siopao and a small pack of pansit.
We hate to see that this is happening in our midst at viewing distance from the headquarters of a rival political camp. The barangay auxiliary police are truly on their toes managing the line in what looked like a fairly orderly ‘take and go’ procedure.
We fear that this scene and scheme repeat themselves in the other barangays, all 7 of them, where tricycle drivers or TODAs operating there will troop to their barangays to get those ‘token bounties’, with a P100 in a brown blank envelope. These are not healthy signs on what are going on in local politics such as Antipolo City.
It seems to serve public notice that in this particular LGU, politics is money-driven. Are we to succumb to the impression then raised by vice-presidentiable Edu Manzano to the effect that winning in Antipolo is largely dependent upon who has the money or that ‘vote buying’ is the name of the game?
We beg and hope that this is not so. We have intelligent voters who will not be lured with these cheap tricks from the book. Perhaps, COMELEC should be up on its toes to monitor the goings-on in Antipolo City if only to democratize if not level the playing field. Former National Security Adviser Almonte has always cautioned against this chronic social malaise that inflicts more harm to the more significant segment of body polity.
From where we stand, we believe that Antipolo City is not one WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY. The people here deserve the best candidate available. The cheap inducement created by ‘brown envelopes’ has nothing to do with the final future of what would Antipolo City be in the next cycle of governance and public administration.
We need people to see through cheap gimmicks purposively intended to deceive. We hate to think that ‘speed payments’ in the form of this one will have any bearing in the final configuration of what the people’s sentiment would be and what it truly represents. We say NOT TO VOTE BUYING!
Better still, will the good COMELEC please train its eye on that part of the political sphere that brakes be applied to this rather unethical comeuppance.
(A CONCERNED CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE)