Election fever
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR - Singkit (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2019 - 12:00am

The Commission on Elections has posted templates of the ballots for the May 13 elections on its website, and my colleague printed out a copy of the first part of the ballot for my little town – now San Juan City – so I could see the candidates hankering for my vote.

The first part of the ballot was the list of senatorial candidates, all 62 of them. I went down the alphabetical listing, making a note of who I would likely vote for. Many – most – of the names were alien to me; by the time I got to the last name, I thought I had a good dozen. But when I re-counted the names I had ticked off, the tally came to 14…and I would have had a spoiled ballot! So I checked my list again, re-thinking several of the names, and finally came up with my good dozen.

Next on the list were my local officials; the choice for mayor between the two candidates was easy, a no-brainer. But when it came to the vice mayor and city council officials…oh my, the names were likewise alien to me! These people who will run my city, who will spend – hopefully not pocket – my taxes (we had a hefty increase in real property taxes this year), provide services – or, hopefully not, the lack thereof – are total strangers. That is certainly not a good situation; I will have to make an effort in the next two and a half months to get to know these creatures.

I will start by looking at those posters and tarpaulins that have defaced the walls, fences, electric posts, overhead wires and whatnot to at least find out what these people look like (the campaign period for local bets has not started, so technically they can – following that brilliant ruling of the Supreme Court – put their posters and tarps anywhere and everywhere). While it’s not fair to judge candidates – or any person, for that matter – by what they look like, it will at least give me an impression of the person.

The Comelec has formed a task force including the police and several government agencies to take down illegal posters and tarps. They face a really huge task, and we can only imagine the mound of tarps and posters that they will end up with – and they’ll even have to keep them as evidence for cases they may file.

There is also a “crackdown” (ordered by the police chief) on candidates – and I hope all other arrogant folks – using sirens and blinkers and motorcycle escorts to push their way through Metro Manila traffic. It’s been nine years since the declaration in 2010 of no more wang-wang but, like a lot of things in this country, it’s making an insidious comeback. In the last couple of weeks these brutes of the road have become more common; on my way home from work the other night I was pushed aside by two such convoys. The four huge SUVs in one convoy had regular plates; the fancy sedan and two escort vans in the other likewise had regular plates, so they certainly were not among those allowed to wang-wang their way through the streets. So I hope that, like the tarps, all these task forces will be able to get rid of them.

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