We have a lot to learn as voters and as candidates
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 15, 2019 - 12:00am

Election results are usually followed by gripes, complaints, and accusations. But then again, that is how the cookie crumbles. In politics and in love, it is not always the good guys who win. But finger-pointing and sour-graping will get us nowhere. Yes, it is becoming clear again that not all of the election results are right. Not all the really competent and clean candidates have won. Not all of the really qualified bets have prevailed. There are really incompetent, dishonest and unfit senators, congressmen, governors, and mayors who made it either in one way or the other. But we have no one else to blame. This is our country. We are supposed to be the sovereign Filipino people. We should accept responsibility for all the problems that beset us.

There is no moral authority on the part of any one of us to blame others for having an electoral system that is too corrupt, too expensive, too inefficient, and too adversarial. All the electoral malpractices and election-related problems are man-made and are not really insurmountable. Such malpractices and problems are created by human persons. They can also be solved by humans. Most of them were brought about by Filipinos. Thus, only Filipinos can resolve them. Talk of vote buying, terrorism, electoral cheating, flying voters, dead men voting, and manipulation of voting machines. These are all driven by people who are driven by greed for power and money.

Vote buying is not only the fault of candidates. They are also caused by voters who demand money, favors, and material and other forms of concessions and gifts. People always use poverty as the reason to expect and demand money. That is not acceptable. Poverty is also being used to justify crimes like theft, robbery, estafa, drug-related offenses, cybersex, prostitution, illegal gambling, and all forms of immoral and illegal acts. Vote buying is being justified by some candidates as a means to neutralize their opponents' own vote-buying activities. No one will admit to being the perpetrator of the original or the proximate cause.

Terrorism is also driven by fear of losing and by the misplaced apprehension that the opponents would also apply such goons and guns to threaten voters. All these boil down to the candidates' own and the voters' lack of strong moral values. When candidates use force, intimidation, pressure, gross misrepresentation, deceit, and false information to secure their victory, these bets have no basic respect for the human dignity of voters. They want to manipulate the exercise of free will by undue influence, moral ascendancy, and other forms of interference that vitiate the free exercise of choice.

The bottom line of all this is that we are still an immature nation of immature people. We are still incapable of making decisions according to our conscience and free will. We can still be manipulated, bought, hoodwinked, exploited, and pressured to vote for people we really do not like. And so, we forfeit our right to complain and we should just keep our mouth shut if in the next three or six years, our public officials continue to be corrupt, inept and incompetent. We deserve the kind of officials we put in office.

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