Electoral Dysfunction: The Right to Exercise Suffrage in Apathy
Photo by June Kirslie Escudero
“Dili na ko muvote, kay wala gihapoy gamit.”
We hear this statement again and again as the May 2016 presidential election draws nearer. We all know that though the right to suffrage is practiced by the majority, its importance is still ignored by many.
Suffrage is governed by the 1987 Philippine Constitution Article 5, Section 1, stating, “Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least 18 years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year, and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.” However, such provision is still disregarded and the potent right is again put into complacence.
Nowadays, voting has become a nonchalant responsibility. It has become a mere duty that not everyone is obliged to perform. Filipinos live by it. The clichéd corruption issues, incompetent leaders running for office and government being blind for the needs of the country has massively contributed to the ineffective practice of voting during election periods, making this democratic country less democratic. As such, our fellow Filipinos lose their hopes and believe that this country is indeed dying. Moreover, the elected trapos with numerous national and local issues such as alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam and drug smuggling have contributed to the inefficient execution of the local government unit.
However, have we asked ourselves who voted them the first place? Is it really the under-the-table transactions and dirty works of the government that give the office seat to an incapable one? Is it because of us irresponsible citizens who don’t even bother to participate and become a part of the voting electorate?
Under the constitution, the electorates are given an equal opportunity to participate and support their candidates during the election by putting their one weighty vote inside that vote counting machine. Sadly, we live in a century wherein voting doesn’t feel like a right, but a method used to determine which politician was most able to brainwash us. Having such right is being given an instrument to make a change for the country. However, it’s often overlooked and neglected. Dominantly, people see their one vote to be insignificant and powerless. In a democratic country, the exercise of the right of suffrage is crucial for the continuance of democracyelse, democracy expires.
Moreover, the substantiality of the right to suffrage has been degraded, and its essence and importance has disintegrated into trash. The current Filipinos have perhaps lost their hopes in uplifting this dying country. Let us imagine how vote selling has become a business, and how politicians use it as a key to grab a seat in the government. These politicians make the lives of millions of people in a more devastating state. The Philippines electorate should not let these trapos win a seat in the senate or, even worse, the presidency.
The importance to exercise the right to vote is crucial for this upcoming presidential election, for this will be the turning point for our country. It is important for the electorate to understand their candidates well. In fact, thanking social media is quite reasonable, for it contributed greatly in revealing the truth, letting the Filipino people gain a deeper understanding about the candidates’ platforms, and have a clearer view of their nationalism and passion.
With five candidates vying for presidency, the fate of the republic for the next six years lies within us. Are we going to choose a woman of excellence with questionable health who runs for the third time for the presidency? The iron fisted “Dirty Harry” of the south famous for his cause against drug and criminality? The nognog by few, who claims the progress of Makati and an alleged plunderer? The standard bearer of the yellow banner who uses plate to drink water? Or the innocent woman who wants to continue the legacy of her father and Whoever the next president will be, it will reflect the choices of the Filipinos. To the greater extent, it will determine how wise we are as voters.
The citizens of the Philippines have the duty and responsibility to choose the best presidential candidate in 2016. Governmental backgrounds should be considered and the passion to serve should be observed well. Let us be aware that everyone’s involved in this election, and the lives of millions of Filipinos rely on the collective votes we cast. The fate of our nation is the result of our individual choices.