News · Politics

How much is your vote?

Well, former president and 2010 elections presidentiable Joseph “Erap” Estrada thinks your vote costs anywhere between 20 or 50 pesos. Not.

Warning Signs
Photo by שאול חנוכה Shaul Hanuka

That supposed “vote-buying” photo published on the frontpage of the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday is funny at best and cheap at worst ((or at least what the photo insinuates)). I will have to agree with Erap’s spokesperson, Margaux Salcedo’s comment — “Get real.”

If the cost of a vote can go as high as ((or maybe higher than)) P500 on election day, then why would anyone think that Erap is “vote-buying” in that recent campaign sortie in Tondo, Manila. It could well be considered alms if you ask me. That’s what politicians think we poor dumb voters need anyway — alms . It’s demeaning because we never needed alms. All we need are competent leaders. But I guess that’s too much to ask for. Or maybe we haven’t been working hard enough.

So if you want to charge him with something, maybe you can invoke the “Anti-Mendicancy” law. Lame.

I could not even say for sure if if that “tightly-rolled paper” is money. But if it is, who cares?

COMELEC? Jimenez himself said that “it’s nothing” and yes it is! It’s nothing because when the SC ruled that there is no such thing as electioneering prior to the official national campaign period which starts next month, we relinquished our right to complain about “catchy” informercials, building-sized tarpaulins and whatever else that this multi-billion peso campaign fiesta is generating and will generate further as we near the 2010 elections.

You, the voter? After the same also ruled that there is NO NEED for a current government official (who is a candidate for the upcoming elections) to vacate his/her post prior to elections we abandoned our claim to being “swindled” by smooth-talking ((“cunning linguist” as Joker Arroyo calls it)) trapos who may well be “cooking us in our own lard”.

We want to complain but can we?

We want to claim our right to clean, transparent and honest elections but do we, after all this non-vigilance and complacency deserve it?

How much is your vote? Or better still, how much does that one vote mean to you? You don’t have to tell me. Tell that to your kids.

When they go asking you for food you cannot provide. When they go asking you why they’re not in school. When they, as adults end up slaving-off in some hostile country so far way from home in exchange for meager salary, if you can even call it salary — tell it to them.

Tell them how much your vote costs and you’ll never have to answer a tougher question from them for the rest of their vote-bought lives.

Our present — this life we now live and everything that’s in it is not ours. It is a borrowed life — from our children, from our grandchildren. Don’t think that we can just squander it as we please. We will have to return it someday. I know we can’t return it now in its pristine state, specially because we’ve been careless and irresponsible with it most times. But please, let’s pledge to return it “mended” if not whole.

You wouldn’t sell your kids or their future. I bet you wouldn’t even want to sell yours. Don’t sell your votes. Vote-buying is illegal and immoral but more importantly, it’s stupid. Period.