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Opinion

Bad officials are elected by good Filipinos who failed to vote

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

There were no less than 67 million registered voters this year. How many millions failed to cast their votes? If and when corrupt and incompetent candidates are declared winners, a heavy share of the blame may be thrown unto millions of registered voters, who are honorable men and women but for one reason or another, shall have failed or refused to cast their votes. My arguments are indubitably based on actual Commission on Election figures.

In 2016, there were 55,739,911 registered voters but only 44,979,151 cast their votes, 10,760,760 voters failed or decided not to cast their votes. That was 19.3%. Since the winner, Rodrigo Duterte got 16,601,997 and Mar Roxas garnered 9,978,175, who knows if the results would have been different if more than 10 million who abstained, actually cast their votes. In 2010, there were 51,317,073 registered voters. Only 38,149,371 cast their votes, or no less than 13,167,702 did not vote, or 25.65%. That was more than one-fourth of the total registered voters failing to exercise their right. Since PNoy's votes numbered 15,208,678 over Erap's 9,487,837, I am sure that the results would have been different had all those who failed to vote really voted.

In 2004, there were 43,895,324 registered voters but only 33,510,092 actually voted. Thus, 10,385,232 failed to cast their votes or 23.66%. Those who did not vote could have changed the outcome of that election if they exercised their right of suffrage. GMA only got 12,905,808 or 39.99% over Fernando Poe's 11,782,232 or 36.51%, or a plurality of just a little more than a million. It was one of the closest elections we ever had. And a cloud of suspicion lingered because of the "Hello, Garci" controversy. Those who failed to vote would have caused the victory of FPJ over GMA, and our history would have taken another course, most probably, for the better.

In 1998, the total registered voters were 33,873,665 but those who voted numbered only 29,285,775 or some 4,587,890 did not vote or 29.29%. But Erap's votes reached 8,239,823 and his closest rival, Joe de Venecia's were only 3,247,087. There was no way that Erap could lose even if those who abstained actually voted. In 1992, there were 32,141,079 registered voters. Only 24,254,954 voted, that means that 7,886,125 did not vote or 24.53%. Had they voted, Miriam Defensor Santiago could have beaten FVR who got only 5,342,521 (23.58%) over Miriam's 4,468,173 (19.72%). FVR's lead over Miriam was only 874,348. GMA's lead over FPJ was 1,123,576. Indeed, good people who do not vote may cause the victory of not-so-good candidates.

We shall skip the elections under Marcos dictatorship from 1972 to 1986 because they were all mired in massive cheating, terrorism, and vote-buying. There was no democracy because everything was under the control and domination of only one dictator. Let us go back to 1969 where there were only 10,300,898 registered voters and only 8,202,793 cast their votes or 2,098,105 or 20.37 % did not vote. Marcos got 5,017,343 over Sergio Osmeña Jr.'s only 3,043,122. In 1965, there were 9,962,345 registered but only 7,610,051 voted or no less than 2,352,294 or 23.61% failed to cast their votes. Marcos got 3,861,324 over Diosdado Macapagal's 3,187,752.

For lack of space we can no longer cover the presidential elections of 1961 when Macapagal won over Carlos P Garcia, the 1957 polls where Garcia won over Jose Yulo, the 1953 polls where Ramon Magsaysay defeated Elpidio Quirino, the 1949 election where Quirino won over Jose P. Laurel, the 1946 polls where Manuel Roxas prevailed over Don Sergio Osmeña, the 1941 polls where Manuel Quezon defeated Juan Sumulong, and the 1935 polls where Quezon defeated Emilio Aguinaldo.

The trends remained the same. Those who failed to vote could have changed the course of our history. And this observation gains more strength under a multi-candidate system since 1992 until today. If good bets failed to make it, those who did not vote are partly responsible for the victory of the undeserving.

VOTES

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