‘Inept, daft and bungling’

The members of the current Commission on Elections (Comelec) are probably the most inept, daft and bungling bunch of idiots since the electoral body’s inception in 1940.

From where I sit, the May 9, 2022 national and local elections are probably the most messy, chaotic and disorderly balloting in the history of electing our leaders.

It’s all of that, despite the hiring of Smartmatic, a multinational company that builds and sets up electronic voting systems.

Smartmatic, instead of making the just concluded balloting smooth and orderly, made it messy because of glitches in its system.

The country wasted humongous amounts of money to pay Smartmatic, which has gained some notoriety in running the electronic system of elections in other countries.

In Venezuela, Smartmatic itself admitted that the elections to that country’s constitutional assembly were manipulated by one million votes in 2017.

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The “honorable” commissioners, all appointees of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, with four out of the seven-member body from Mindanao, don’t seem to give justice to the man who appointed them.

They’re running around like headless chickens.

This columnist is also from Mindanao but I’m ashamed of them.

Consider the following: many defective vote counting machines (VCMs) remained in disrepair on the election day itself, when they should have been addressed 90 days before E-Day, on Feb. 9.

There were fears that if defective VCMs were not repaired by E-Day, the outcome of Monday’s balloting might not reflect the true sentiments of voters.

The powers-that-be might then declare a failure of elections.

If that happens, blame it on Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, in charge of this year’s elections, who had not been forthright and forthcoming about the preparations made by the poll body.

Casquejo, a Comelec official in the Davao region before he was appointed as one of the poll body’s top brass, is just too inarticulate or shy to report on what measures were taken to make Monday’s election happen without a hitch.

Election Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan, a former politician from Lanao del Sur, was generally not available to reporters who wished to interview him. He probably is also inarticulate or shy.

Joey Sarasola, an official during the administrations of Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, summed it all up in two sentences: “The Comelec is run by a cabal of buffoons, amigo! They had all the time to fix the machines and they didn’t.”

Jinalyn, a voter in Parañaque, complained that the precinct where she was assigned had a defective VCM and was given two options: Vote and entrust her ballot to the person manning the VCM, or to wait for a new VCM to arrive.

“I will just wait for the new machine,” Jinalyn said to the official manning her precinct.

“I didn’t trust them, and it was my first time to vote,” the woman, who’s a bar cashier, told this columnist.

The Quezon City precinct where my wife Josephine and I were assigned to also had an out-of-order VCM, and voters were made to sign a waiver that said they could not be issued a voter’s receipt. We refused to sign the waiver.

Luckily for us and our fellow voters in that precinct, the machine became functional again at past 4 p.m. The VCM went kaput at 10 a.m. You could just imagine how many voters before us signed the waiver in order to vote!

Monday’s balloting was one of the bloodiest elections in recent memory.

In Barangay Magonaya, Binidayan, Lanao del Sur – Comelec chief Pangarungan’s home province – a voter who destroyed the VCM inside the precinct was dragged out of the polling place and was beaten to death by bystanders.

The incident – very disturbing if I may say so, as it reflects the society we live in – was recorded on video.

What was more disturbing is that the soldiers or policemen in fatigue uniforms didn’t do anything to prevent the killing!

Three persons were killed during a shooting incident at the pilot school in Buluan town, Maguindanao.

As this column was being written (Monday afternoon), the Comelec said it was still verifying the reported election-related violence.

Are we all to believe that the poll body had all the resources at its command – the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, teachers manning the precincts – but it was still clueless on the details of the shooting incident? How inept!

Also in Maguindanao, traditionally a hotspot during every election, nine people were wounded when five grenades exploded outside a polling station in Datu Unsay town.

The poll body should have watched closely the situation in Maguindanao where, in an earlier election-related incident, 58 people, 32 of them journalists, were massacred in 2009 on orders of a political dynastic clan.

There were more reports of election violence in other parts of Mindanao on Monday, E-Day.

The “honorable” commissioners of the poll body who are from Mindanao should have foreseen the violent incidents during E-Day.

This is the first election in the country wherein the internet has documented election irregularities up close.

That bloody incident in Lanao del Sur was captured on video.

Even the actions of certain candidates went viral after being captured on video.

Take the case of former presidential spokesman and senatorial candidate Harry Roque. Roque stormed out of the polling precinct where he was assigned after he was asked to line up.

In contrast, Alex Lacson, another senatorial candidate, patiently sat for 45 minutes while waiting for his turn to vote in the same precinct.

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Joke! Joke! Joke!

Wife: I hate that beggar!

Husband: Why?

Wife: He’s an ingrate. Yesterday I gave him food. Today he gave me a book on “How to Cook.”

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