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Postby ambring » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:54 am

by: ambringfruelda

Dictionary.com defines suffrage as, “the right to vote, especially in a political election.”

There are various definitions that one may put forward relating to this topic, but, at this instance, this, in essence, is good enough for my purpose.

Moreover, I intend here to use suffrage as an acronym for Simaranhons’ Unified Force Fulfilling Reforms About Government Elections (SUFFRAGE) within the territorial jurisdiction of Simara. Unified Force, in this context, does not mean physical coercive force, but, of course, cohesive determined actions for successfully attaining our common goal in this regard – Simara Clean Elections!

I am appreciative of Johmy’s initiative/concerns pertaining to Simara elections. My deep appreciation extends also to those who shared candidly their respective views. Let this be my share.

It appeared to me that the central issue is vote-buying! Personally, I believe that vote-buying – massive or not - is not endemic to Simara; nevertheless, this irregular election practice must be faced head-on before it becomes an epidemic in our beloved Simara Island.

Before we can put on the table possible solutions to the vote-buying malady, we are confronted with a challenge to find out the root cause.

WHY a candidate buys vote?
WHY a voter sells her/his vote?

These are challenging questions, and the definitive answers can be given only by the candidates who actually engaged in buying votes - hopefully, not all - and, at the same token, by the voters who willfully sold their respective votes.

Is it still sane to say that not all candidates buy the idea of buying votes? You know more than I do.

My view is this: Generally speaking, a candidate buys votes in order to have a competitive edge over her/his opponent(s) to approximate victory. While it is not a win-win tool, the risk is dictated by the financial and related benefits offered by a particular position. Consequently, running for an elective position becomes a gamble/personal investment tampering with the sacred meaning of “public office is a public trust”, and subordinating public service to personal aim. Vote-buying unfairly renders the playing field – political arena - in favor of those who have more/much to spend and are determined to do so up to the last centavo, so to speak.

WHO, in her/his normal self, will buy votes in order to win simply to be able to serve the public, including those whose votes he/she paid for?!! This defies logic in whatever dialect/language, especially Simaranhons Asi – Asi ni-ong gador ka imo intensiyon?

On the other hand, WHY a voter sells her/his vote? My finding does not point primarily to poverty as the main/sole factor; it is not also about lack of education, or absence of self-respect; it is more of distrust to the candidate in particular and to the government in general. How far a fifty pesos (Php50.00) per vote can alleviate poverty? “Batuna yang kuno meski singkwenta, kilaya yang ra kuno kita et kaling mga kandidato kung panahon et eleksyon.”

It is not right to accept anything in exchange for a vote – but, I will give the benefit of a doubt to a voter with this impression. The challenge is for our candidates/elected officials to do things at par with, or even beyond the electorate’s expectation. If ever, vote buying will be a thing of the past.

WITH RESPECT to a prospective documentary relating to election irregularities in Simara, particularly vote-buying, I am of the opinion that doing so will do more harm than good. Let us bear in mind that while our objective is rationally rational, the process itself will inevitably magnify the unwanted practice aggravated by the fact that all elements – subject matter, actors/actresses, director, producer, and the like, so to speak – revolve around and rotate within the main topic – Simara/Simaranhons!


While it is of common knowledge that election irregularities are not endemic to Simara, let us put together our senses to have what we call common sense – to bring to the table possible steps that will lead to clean elections and, of course, elected government officials free of the vote-buying virus!

Is it possible? Be positive… There are those who consider/describe vote-buying as the prevailing trend; if so, let us eradicate it before it becomes the abnormal norm.

There is a need to form a core group composed of five (5) representatives from each political party present in Simara, among other members. This group will discuss, among other agenda, and come to a unified agreement on the following:

1. Campaign Spending Limit – in order to provide a plain playing field for all candidates, there must be a cap on the amount that each candidate can spend for the entire campaign period. It is up to the group to work and agree on the details. Funds must be used mainly on campaign materials – leaflets, booklets, billboards, and the like allowed by law; vote-buying and other activities of similar nature must have ZERO/WAYA budget.
2. Campaign Decorum – Personal attack ads and mudslinging speeches should not be allowed. Focus on the positive points pertaining to candidacy and relevant issues.
3. Campaign Materials – Must include the personal/family profile of the candidate; her/his objectives/platform as elected official “ to be”.
4. Campaign Venues – political rallies must be conducted only in a public place; house-to-house campaigning must not be allowed for this is a convenient avenue/fertile ground for vote-buying in whatever color, form, shape, size and value.
5. Campaign Staff – names of campaign staff of every candidate must be given to the core group for clear identification; the candidate has direct responsibility over the conduct of her/his staff members.
6. Campaign Food and Drinks – to avoid misinterpretation, food and drinks should not be served to the audience during campaign rallies.

7. COMELEC Officials – must see to it that applicable election laws are being observed to the letter. Violators must be prosecuted accordingly to serve as precedent and lesson-learning-experience.

8. More…

MOREOVER, I am also of the opinion that:

a. Politicians who had served three (3) terms consecutively must give chance to others by not running again, unless for a higher position.

b. Politicians who had been elected to a certain position must not file candidacy for a lower position. I am not certain about your objectives, but, if you have had unfinished agenda for the well-being of Simara/Simaranhons, think of other avenues to put your agenda to good use rather than running again, and again: share, share, share the same among the incumbents. It will be more satisfying personally, and Simara uplifting generally.

c. Those who had been elected to public office – public service – and already out, must continue to do so in your personal capacity/own volition; the same concept must be embraced also by those candidates who did not make it during previous elections; share, share, share your ideas and other resources (not vote-buying skill) for the greater good of Simara/Simaranhons!

WE can call our common efforts, “OUR IDEAS” – Optimistic Utilization of Resources for Integrated Development Efforts About Simara!

Do we care about Simara?

If so, let us give due course to our positive commitment, which is actually Simaranhons’ CARE – Simaranhons’ Common Advocacy Reforming Elections within Simara.

Election reform is a gigantic task, but with Simaranhons’ Unified Force descriptive of selfless efforts, strengthened by moral fortitude, and guided by firm belief in the bounty of positive change, this gigantic task will appear like dwarf, and eventually be out-of-sight!

Let us apply “ask”: attitude that is positive, skill that is appropriate, and knowledge that is ample; then, let us ask ourselves: CAN WE DO IT? then, our unified answer is: YES, WE CAN!

Any and all positive output relating to this advocacy must be disseminated in a sustained manner extensively and intensively – politicians, voters, and the general public - as a continuing education tool for clean elections in our beloved Simara!

Election reforms must start with the candidates. What the seller of vote can do without a buyer?! What all concerned must do - what else – repent, and participate objectively in “SUFFRAGE”.

Be part of the solution!

Let us see our SEE - Simara Elections Environment - that is clean in every aspect!
WE owe it not only to this generation, but those yet to come -- in the good name of Simara!

Simara CARES…!
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