Deciding who we want to lead our barangays is the best blessing of our democracy. We enjoy the free exercise of our sacred right to vote for those who deserve the trust and confidence of our people to run the affairs of government. The choice must be based on ideal parameters that would produce officials who possess the qualification, capability, integrity to perform the functions of the office being aspired for. There too is a need to examine the platform or advocacy that a particular candidate is pushing for that would be a good yardstick of what one will do once elected. But all these are mere ideals of bygone days when elections were truly clean and honest in all aspects, including the voter’s respect to his dignity and honor as a sovereign and rationale being.

It is indeed unfortunate that elections are nothing more than commercial transactions with the sacred vote as commodity of the deal. Candidates no longer worry formulating a program of government for voters no longer care asking for the best platform anyway.

Even meetings held by candidates during the campaign do not anymore attract the curiosity and interest of the voters. People would attend to listen only if they are given the best consideration for their presence. We can only find a few who voluntarily go to meetings as a manifestation of responsibility. Most do not anymore care to listen and just decide on choices without knowing well the personalities and issues.

Calls to regain our moral bearings had repeatedly been issued by concerned civic, religious and cause oriented groups. Such appeal to resort to conscience and fight every temptation and influence of money, guns and power ought to be heeded by all and sundry. The call is very timely as people appear to have lost its moorings on morality and the independent and free exercise of his sovereign will. We really need to reexamine ourselves and try answering basic questions regarding our moral values that ought to guide us in the exercise of our sacred right to vote.

Unfortunately, we have seen in the recent past how money plays a crucial role in winning elections. Voters had been used to receiving tokens, pennies and small bills from candidates who want their names written in the official ballot. These candidates pretend to be generous givers to the least of their brethren. They try to downplay vote buying as mere acts of kindness and sharing their riches to their constituents who are expectantly waiting for the election money. Those who have the riches have the decided advantage to win over the poor and unknown candidates. But upsets are always possible if voters will only decide to defeat the evil influence of money by voting wisely no matter the bribe. The challenge amid the rampant vote-buying is for voters to accept the money and vote wisely.
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