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Opinion

Election results

ROSES & THORNS - Alejandro R. Roces -

Our prayer before the elections was for honest and clean elections that would provide us with relatively untainted results. We are surprised at how quickly results were being reported. So quickly in fact, the speed has helped stymie cheating, ballot box switching and result manipulation. We have taken another step forward in our maturation as a democratic nation. We thank Senator Gordon and Congressman Locsin and all the authors of the poll automation bill.

The Comelec came through and delivered a fairly successful automated election. They, and most especially the Board of Election Inspectors, deserve our thanks for tackling automated elections and making them work. One of the clearest signs of the success of the automated elections came via the Philippine Stock Exchange, which jumped up 3.9 percent on Tuesday. The teachers, poll watchers and volunteers (from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and barangay) deserve the bulk of the praise for Election Day, and should be honored and applauded by all corners. We are proud of those who worked tirelessly through day and beyond. It was their unremarked hard work, effort and patience that resulted in praise from domestic and international sources alike for our elections. From chaos caused by unfamiliar systems and eager crowds they delivered.

The Comelec, though, should not rest on their ‘laurels’. The successful mounting of this election should not obscure areas that need improvement. We were frankly shocked to see pictures of ex-President Erap Estrada’s filled out ballot published in print and television. This runs counter to preserving the sanctity and privacy of a person’s vote. Protecting a person’s right to privacy when voting is an integral part of the process. While the backend of the election process has been successful (tallying and transmission of results) the front end still needs work.

Chief among the complaints was that a standardized procedure for queuing, getting your ballot, thumb-printing and signing did not exist: each “cluster” devised their own system on the spot. This contributed to bogging down the voting process for many people. Voters should not be disenfranchised because of interminable waiting. This can be easily addressed in time for the next election; all it will require is foresight and planning. We are all after the best possible voting experience, and the speed with which automated voting takes place will help streamline the overall process.

The Filipino people performed brilliantly. As strange as it is to say, only ten reported deaths is the lowest election death toll in memory. Over 75 percent of registered voters turned out to cast their ballots, an incredible number. The patience they showed in tackling a new system of voting, slogging through heat and long lines was inspiring. From the volunteers to the voters there is much to be proud of today.

The graciousness with which the presidential candidates who were well behind in the polls conceded were honorable acts of statesmanship. Statesmanship, lacking for many years, reappeared. The calls of Senators Richard Gordon and Manuel Villar to rally behind and support the administration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III are worthy responses, and examples of leadership. The Filipino people have spoken. Our hope is that all involved can set aside campaign differences and work together. It may sound cliché, but fixing the country requires cooperation from all parties. Graciousness in defeat and victory, by all candidates and supporters, will help ameliorate the charged post-campaign political and social atmosphere.

The final result of the vice-presidential race remains uncertain as of the writing of this column. But if the other national and local results reflected clean and honest elections, we find it hard to believe that the vice-presidential results would not. We hope that the results, no matter what they may be, remain untainted and the perceived integrity of the automated elections holds. We should all await the official and duly certified results from the Comelec before stamping the results as final and declaring a presumptive winner.

BENIGNO AQUINO

BOARD OF ELECTION INSPECTORS

COMELEC

ELECTION

ELECTION DAY

ELECTIONS

PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL

PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE

PRESIDENT ERAP ESTRADA

RESPONSIBLE VOTING

RESULTS

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