The Election (circus) is in town

Supporters of PDP Laban candidate for President Rodrigo Duterte and Nationalista Party candidate for Vice President Alan Peter Cayetano await the arrival of the tandem at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both were invited to CNN Philippines's Town Hall. Photo by KIM Quilinguing.
Supporters of PDP Laban candidate for President Rodrigo Duterte and Nationalista Party candidate for Vice President Alan Peter Cayetano await the arrival of the tandem at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both were invited to CNN Philippines’s Town Hall. Photo by KIM Quilinguing.

Election season in the Philippines is often described by many to be akin to a circus. With all the colorful campaign paraphernalia, the flamboyant attire of candidates and supporters going about earning the confidence of voters, and all the lively exchanges between political bets on the media, one can easily gather an assessment of vibrant atmosphere the country and its people often find themselves every three years.

While it is difficult to find fault on which group is responsible for the sad state that politics, particularly the elections, have become in the country, how it is now perceived by the average Filipino, as being rowdy, full of hypocrisy, and even as a source of amusement, is shaped by how it is seen on television, reported on the radio and written on the newspapers. Continue reading


Social Media and Philippine Politics

The Increased Synergy of Two Platforms in the 2016 Elections

Internet connection speeds in the Philippines remain one of the slowest in Asia. This limitation however has not stopped Filipinos from using the web and maximizing their use of the applications and service available online.

In the recently concluded 2016 national and local elections, social media platforms were again used by candidates, political parties and interests groups with political, social and economic agenda. The intensity of use however significantly differed from the two previous electoral exercises. Continue reading

The Election Season in Black and White

Team PNoy candidate Sonny Angara poses with candidates after the ABS-CBN Harapan debate on April 28.

Sharing some photos taken during the election season as I was part of a project which tried to provide verified information  about the candidates for the Senate and their claims. This explains the lack of blog posts over the past few months. Continue reading

The Snow Ball Effect

And the the Senator from Bukidnon has resigned from his position today. The exit from the legislature was received by several sectors of the country with varied reactions. Some, who abide by the gentleman, were furious that he had to relinquish his post. The critics found his speech pompous and self-serving. Personally, I would rather keep my feelings to myself and share only what I perceive to be happening in the political landscape of the country.

But before anything else, let me put out in the open that the person who has questioned the validity of the good Senator’s votes is a relative of mine. His father is a cousin of my father. But we were never close cousins nor do we fall under the same political persuasions and perceptions. Do also know that the resigned Senator’s father is a good friend of my father. So do spare me the accusations of being biased.

What I think we have before us is a snow ball effect. And it was not something that was properly orchestrated by a particular group. Rather it was something born out of selfish intentions by some interest groups which eventually went out of hand and struck anyone along its widening path.

A couple of weeks ago, news organizations feasted on the surfacing and revelations of Lintang Bedol. But as soon as the euphoria died down, news organizations, civil society groups, and even the Aquino administration, started viewing the former election supervisor of Maguindanao with suspicion. The doubts on Bedol’s intentions came after former ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan had offered to divulge some events which transpired in Maguindanao during the 2007 elections. Ampatuan is believed to be desperately trying to gain the Aquino administration’s favor in an effort to save his skin from the trials on the Maguindanao Massacre. Ampatuan and several of his kin have been accused to have ordered the massacre.

In a similar development, allegations of poll fraud in the 2004 elections have also been gaining ground lately after several members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force admitted to having replaced the elections returns at the House of Representatatives. The group even named the husband of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to have been behind the operation. The Departmenr of Justice and Commission on Elections have decided to conduct an inquiry into the claims of the policemen.

The political atmosphere in the country has been one of revelations, finger-pointing, and hurling of accusations. And those who are believed to have benefitted from the irregualrities are suddenly being viewed as among those who orchestrated the events. But we should not be quick to place the blame on those who have unwittingly and unknowingly benefitted from the irregularities.

While the canvassing of votes in the Zubiri-Pimentel electoral contest have yielded results different from that which caused the declaration of the gentleman from Bukidnon, the gentleman from Cagayan de Oro will have to be more patient. The case he has filed will have to be concluded first before anything else can move.

From the bigger picture, both Zubiri and Pimentel are victims of a scheme thought of by someone more influential than either. Zubiri has made it clear that he was in no way connected to fraud nor did he engage in it. And Pimentel did lose some votes which made him fall from what would have been his spot in the legislature. Neither actually knows what happened nor who gave instructions to conduct the shaving of votes. For sure, someone was cheated. As to who caused the cheating, we have yet to know.

Let’s just hope that the snow ball continues to roll and that those behind all these schemes in the 2004 and 2007 elections, would get run over.