Philippines: Election season begins

It’s already election season! Campaigning for midterm elections will begin next month. On May 14, Filipinos will vote for members of Senate, Lower House and local government units.

The Administration hopes to keep its majority lead in the Lower House to block a possible impeachment case this year. The Opposition wants the coming elections as a referendum for the current government accused of poll fraud, corruption and human rights violations.

Disagreements over the line-up of the Opposition for the Senatorial race led to proposals to create a ‘third force’ which is neither pro-Administration nor pro-Opposition.

Our Times explains why she is against a ‘third force’ in the coming elections:

“Opposition leaders as well as re-electionist senators must rise above varying degrees of self-righteousness and agree on the more expedient and efficient route of a unified ticket. A third force, no matter what you call it, boils down to this: an unnecessary distraction.”

Iloilo City Boy is supportive of a ‘third force’:

“I believe that a “third force” ticket has never been a more attractive and viable idea, especially in the context of the malaise that is plaguing our politics today. Never before have I seen such hopelessness, pessimism and cynicism in our people – and we are supposed to be an inherently optimistic people! They are looking for other alternatives besides the current politicians who cannot seem to let go of the past and only want to prolong the acrimonious atmosphere in politics.”

Out of my Mind believes a ‘ third force’ will be a futile effort:

Under a mature democracy, a third alternative is definitely a good idea. But let’s do a quick reality check once again: The May elections are not just about the Senate and any third force needs to have effective machinery that has presence nationwide and impact on the grassroots level. And in a setup where votes can be bought, where political dynasties and patronage are a shameful reality for which politicians do not even bother making even half-hearted apologies for, a third force can be likened to the futile efforts of Don Quixote battling the windmills.

By Jove has an ‘inside story’ on the negotiations for recruiting candidates that will comprise the ‘third force’.

The Philippine experience thinks the Opposition is on the “verge of self-destruction” :

“The Opposition should get its act together to keep its overwhelming advantage. But it seems they have played into the administration's ploy. The disgraced senators who were dumped by the people before are emerging from their cocoons and raring to have another go.”

James Jimenez, a government official, has a proposal on how to deal with premature election campaigning:

“The Comelec should ask every politician who has gone on record – with the media, mostly – as intending to run should immediately take down his posters and refrain from putting up new ones until the start of the election period. I’m thinking shame campaign, or it’s slightly more politically correct cousin, a campaign of moral suasion. However, considering the need for the Comelec to remain strictly neutral, it would be exceedingly difficult to conduct such a shame campaign while maintaining the kind of objectivity we need to preserve. The solution, I think, lies with the youth and advocacy groups. After all, these pols are just courting votes. Think of it as an exercise in consumer power.”

Comelec ako is disgusted with campaign streamers disguised as greeting materials:

“Aesthetically, well, those damned things are just plain ugly to look at. I mean, I can do without having the face of some washed out politician looking down on me from every light post, thank you very much. It's my city too, you know.”

Cyberbaguioboy reports internet voting has been approved in principle. Overseas Filipino workers and migrants in Singapore will be the first to try out Internet voting.

Luis Teodoro gives a backgrounder on Philippine politics and elections:

“Philippine political parties may not have ideologies, but they do have an ideology. It’s the ideology of the wealthy and the powerful, of those who benefit the most from the way things are. There’s no talk of ideologies or programs among the mainstream parties and during Philippine elections because the ideology pro status quo is taken for granted. Those who don’t agree with that ideology can count on the police and the military to bash their heads in, file sedition charges against them, look the other way when they’re assassinated–or even encourage, abet, fund and carry out their elimination. All in the name of democracy, of course, a concept about which the political class and its minions haven’t the foggiest, but to which they constantly refer after the usual paeans to God and Country.”

Election laws, resolutions and orders promulgated by the Commission on Elections, as well as voters’ list and precint location are uploaded in Inside the Comelec.

Philippine Eleksiyon 2007 monitors updates in elections plus some information on candidates. Manuel L. Quezon III gives a daily round-up of the most important election news.


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