IT seems God has been talking to a lot of presidential candidates lately from the sudden appearance of the most …uh interesting self-nominated presidential wannabes at the Comelec offices in the last few days. Aided and abetted by Comelec too. One would think that by now they would have put in place some implementing rules and regulations about standards for those filing for the presidency. Apparently not.
One wannabe directly quoted God, another quoted Him through a disembodied voice she heard while sweeping her house. These are among many other bizarre reasons for why they were throwing their hats into the presidential derby. Comelec welcomes them all as part of the circus that it is putting up.
Really, our multi-party system or shall we say our multiple personalities have come up to the fore in bewildering variations as the filing of certificates of candidacies becomes the new comic ritual of our times with Comelec as the impressario.
Nothing new here from how we enhance, exaggerate and embellish serious events or routine events. Think of the law school alumni bringing bands and cheering squads as law students arrive to take the bar exams. Thank goodness the law schools and city officials sensibly banned these sophomoric displays of support that simultaneously cause discomfort to the public. But a government office allowing a similar show does trivialize a vital democratic process. It is not the filing of candidacies by the somewhat deranged but the parallel exhibition thereof vis-à-vis serious candidates that demeans the exercise. The circus effect overwhelms. Could we be a little more serious, more dignified?
Comelec has succumbed to ridiculous ritual in the case of the filing of candidacies and not just with the public exhibition of the abnormal or paranormal (as in hearing voices). What with the putting up of a red carpet with accompanying props for the candidates to march up to their office and file their certificates, it is like a stage set for The Mouse That Roared, a play and movie about an unlikely small country that took on big power moves, a satire, of course. Is this the intent of Comelec?
One would think they are better off putting their energies to work on deciphering the mystery of the Dinalupihan, Bataan, neatly wrapped ballots from the 2013 elections, ballots that seem fake by all definitions and show discrepancies much above the maximum variance for automated elections which have led to disputed electoral victories. But so far, Comelec has ignored such glaring evidence of outright fraud. They prefer to let it be elevated to the Supreme Court who rules on a technicality to dismiss the case. Justice has not been done in this electoral dispute, thanks to their focus on red carpets and bids where only one party shows up and their own technical excuses for not acting on this case.
I am beginning to fear the worst here with the indifference and inappropriate behavior of Comelec on some matters. Among these disturbing behavioral patterns of Comelec is the lease of the so-called Optical Mark machines at exorbitant fees with no description or assurance of the safety and security devices that would be needed to prevent what unhappily has happened in the past.
Instead we are seeing here multiple and counting presidential candidates marching through with inane media coverage that results from the fecklessness of Comelec management of the filing process, all the better to encourage the more bizarre of them. Add to that the Comelec red carpet and the general air of fiesta with inadvertent comic touches and the stage is set for farce. Are we having a serious electoral exercise? What about the indifference to larger issues like untrustworthy machines for automated elections, clear cases of fraud unresolved, weird comments like clean and fair elections cannot be assured? All of these courtesy of Comelec helped along by misplaced media attention to trivialities, its tolerance for the self-serving automated electoral machine contractor. Comelec Commissioners seem to play deaf, dumb and blind to what is going on.
We are about to have a few laughs at our Democracy’s expense. We seem to welcome the circus that will muddle the issues, confuse the voters and bring on the unworthy to our lasting regret by our acquiescence.
Comelec needs to acquire some modicum of gravitas and all it entails by convincingly focusing on doing right, making form follow function, separating the sheep from the goats. The law must be followed in the spirit in which it was given – freedom of choice but not choice verging on ridiculousness or even insanity. Most of all it has to prove its worthiness of our trust if we are to shed our skepticism about the coming polls. So far so bad.