The vote
SKETCHES - Ana Marie Pamintuan (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2013 - 12:00am

From the search for my voting place until my finger was marked with purple ink, it took me less than 20 minutes to vote – and this included a walk in the rain from a public elementary school compound to a high school nearby.

In sharp contrast to the long lines in 2010, when chaos reigned due to precinct clustering, there were no lines last Monday in the schools that served as polling precincts in my neck of the woods. I was in that high school compound for no more than 10 minutes.

Even the early afternoon downpour was welcome, bringing cool breezes in the summer heat.

Yesterday my right forefinger was still daubed purple, despite repeated scrubbing with alcohol, soap and water, shampoo, you name it. I was told that even acetone didn’t work so forget getting a manicure; we’re stuck with the purple mark for perhaps a month. The voter’s ink is indelible, you better believe it.

My only beef about the voting process was that I still clutched a tattered piece of paper, which I showed to teachers to find my name and assigned room. The yellowed slip of paper has been my official voter’s ID for the past 15 years.

When Benjamin Abalos was the elections chief I waited in a long line to have my biometric data recorded for a real ID card. I’m still waiting for the card.

Perhaps the card is like the stickers for my car license plates. I got the registration sticker for the windshield upon the car’s purchase in late 2010 but gave up trying to get the corresponding stickers for the plates from the Land Transportation Office after eight months. Did the LTO pay for stickers that were never delivered? Aren’t such things supposed to have been swept away by the daang matuwid administration?

Maybe such things are still on the to-do list of President Aquino, who asked the nation to vote straight for Team PNoy ostensibly so he can accomplish his reform agenda in the next three years.

I know many people who didn’t vote along party lines, but it looks like Team PNoy is headed for a majority win anyway.

*   *   *

There are Aquino supporters who are still sighing over his choice of certain candidates who are seen to be liars, incompetents and outright crooks. At least one of his candidates should be formally investigated for the same offense that led to the ouster of Renato Corona as chief justice.

For the disappointed, it seemed that P-Noy had one overriding consideration: winnability. In a few cases, the consideration seemed to be nothing more than “check appeal” – the perceived ability to contribute to campaign logistics.

It’s not the first time, however, that the daang matuwid President has chosen pragmatism over idealism. P-Noy isn’t the only one guilty of this. But public expectations of exemplary behavior are higher for him than for other endorsers in Philippine politics.

In any case, P-Noy failed to get his 12-0 sweep. Voters also rebuffed him on politicians who were arrested for graft shortly before the elections: Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino trounced challengers to his reelection while suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is headed for a seat in Congress. Meanwhile, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been reelected by a landslide.

None of the major endorsers can claim overwhelming victory in the elections. Team PNoy did well in the Senate race – a blow to the United Nationalist Alliance – but P-Noy could not stop the victory of two of UNA’s “Three Kings.” All the relatives of Vice President Jejomar Binay are expected to win, with his daughter Nancy safely in fifth place within the “Magic 12.” Former President Joseph Estrada bested incumbent Alfredo Lim, a close ally of P-Noy, in the race for Manila mayor. Erap is also expected to have a second son sitting in the Senate while Guia Gomez has been reelected as San Juan mayor.

The third UNA kingmaker, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, could not propel his only son Jack to the upper chamber. As of last night, Enrile’s former security aide, Gregorio Honasan, was still battling it out with former senator Richard Gordon for the 12th spot in the Senate race.

While Risa Hontiveros was one of the few Team PNoy bets who failed to make it, there are no indications that voters made their choices based chiefly on candidates’ stand on the reproductive health law – once again showing that there is no Catholic vote in this country. It must be noted that the biggest endorser of the RH measure was the one who signed it into law, P-Noy himself, and nine of his candidates are winning.

As for the much-vaunted Iglesia Ni Cristo vote, it failed to send certain candidates to the Senate, although it appears to have mattered in certain races for local government positions. El Shaddai’s Buhay party-list, meanwhile, looks assured of at least one seat in the House of Representatives.

Looking at the emerging winners, it’s frustrating to consider that ordinary taxpayers like us will be shelling out a third of our earnings (on top of paying value-added tax on almost all goods and services plus road toll and miscellaneous charges on public utilities) partly for the upkeep of a fresh bunch of unworthy incompetents.

But we can look on the bright side, and rejoice over the defeat of certain candidates both in the national and local races. Win some, lose some.

It’s always amazing how much faith we put in the ballot, always hoping that life will get better under a new team. In this country, change comes in small increments, as in the voting system, but change is happening. We hope. It springs eternal.





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