By MANUEL L. MORATÓ
There is something wrong somewhere
Since time immemorial, we have asked ourselves the question: “When will we have a true and honest elections?” Unless this issue is resolved, let’s not say that the Philippine Republic is a democratic country for democracy rests on equal rights and freedom of expression to defend oneself. An election that is honest is the best guarantee of democracy.
Our elections since we became independent in 1945 and had our first elections for the First Congress of the Philippines started considerably well, until it slowly deteriorated “sa kami-kami,” “kayo-kayo.” That’s when the integrity of the house started to fail.
An election to be valid must protect the sanctity of the ballot. Once tampered with, an election ceases to exist and it is the duty of the government to insure its people a tamper-proof election.
In 1992 when I was forced by President Cory to run for senator in the party of Fidel V. Ramos, Lakas-NUCD, I resisted and did not want to be one of the senatorial candidates. But I was prevailed upon to run with great hesitation. I joined some of the sorties nationwide, but did not join in many of them, one of which was scary and unforgettable.
We were in Davao on March 6, 1992. In order to accommodate the 24 candidates and staff, we were provided by the party two planes to ferry us around the country. The next destination was Jolo and everybody boarded the two planes except me.
March 6 is the death anniversary of my father, Tomas Morato, who passed away on that day in 1965. I was in school in the States and had to immediately come back.
The group took off to Jolo and other destinations on March 6, but I decided to stay behind for I had to go to Church to hear mass and spend the day in prayers.
When the group came back, they were panicky and some of them related to me the near tragedy they encountered along the way. As they related, they encountered heavy clouds and heavy rain. “Napadpad daw sila sa may Borneo or Sarawak.”
If I ran for the presidency in 1998, it was not to be president, but to see how dirty our elections can be. It was truly demoralizing. I never imagined that such electoral exercise could drop so low on trust basis. In 1998, again I gave it a try. We were eleven (11) presidential candidates then for president; and nine (9) vice presidential candidates. The counting and tabulation took about a month which I found out why. The votes were being auctioned in the South and practically all over the country – including in Metro Manila. From Caloocan, some teachers came to see me after that they were prohibited to count my votes. They cried and really felt very bad about the way they were harassed. I tried to console them and made them shed off their guilt feelings for the whole exercise did not matter much to me.
I ran under a new party my supporters had concocted. At that time, our electoral system was manual and candidates’ votes were being auctioned by some allegedly persons from the Comelec, nationwide. As a matter of fact, a friend who was a presidential candidate (a well-known politician) called me and told me about the auctioning of my votes. He was decent enough to ask me if he, too, could bid. I told him: “go ahead.”
The counting lasted for several weeks. It was so slow. The results were being flashed on television and broadcasted on radio.
In the days of counting, my votes reached 27,000. But thereafter, instead of going up as the days went by, my votes were being slowly shaved. Instead of going up, my votes were sliding down. At the end of the counting, weeks after, I was left with 18,000 votes.
Since that experience, I never wanted to run for office again. Elections in this country is an exercise in futility. In most cases, one has to be bad with no sense of right and wrong in order to be a candidate and win. But that’s something I would never allow myself to be one.
Now that the midterm elections are over, many machines malfunctioned. They are only machines after all.
I only know of one machine now used in some states of the U.S. when the results of the election are in question. It’s the only machine that is tamper-proof and gives a hundred percent accurate result.
In last Monday’s election, the receipts printed by the machines for the voter to see was only placed in a cardboard box, like a shoe-box where the voters were told to squeeze it in. The cardboard box was overflowing when I tried to squeeze mine in. I expected one of those metal ballot boxes with lock to drop them in to safeguard those printed receipts to be used in case of a recount.
If only the Smartmatic machines could talk! Those machines could be uttering dirty words!!!
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