A commendable job

"Voters are trusting the system more and more."



Barely two hours after the 2019 midterm polls, 70 percent of the results had already been transmitted.

As someone who has lived through countless nightmarish manual elections that took as long as 40 days to finish, I know this feat is nothing sort of phenomenal.

Notwithstanding the usual hiccups in some areas, voters witnessed proclamations on election night—and concession after concession afterward.

Initially there were complains about the VCMs—Vote Counting Machines. But they were, as I said, mere hiccups. These glitches did not make any difference in the results.

Let’s look at the bigger picture. The speedy transmission and the transparency of the results have eased the electoral tension and made the transfer of power seamless.

Compared to the “bad old days,” I can say Monday’s election was smooth and painless. If only the younger generation knew what we had to put up with back in the day!

All things considered, the Comelec has done a commendable job.

Its people went the extra mile to ensure that the public knew exactly what preparations were being done, from public bidding to source code review to final testing and sealing—everything was transparent. This was probably why voter turnout was remarkably high.

It’s also worthwhile to point out that the number of electoral protests went down once automation was adopted. Did you know that in 2010 there were 89 protests and in 2013 it went down to 83? And then in 2016, there were only 38 cases filed. Voters are trusting the system more and more.

I am most thankful for the decline in violent incidents. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are regarding the 2019 polls as the most peaceful elections in history.

In manual elections, you could see the protracted period of time before winners are determined, giving ample time to fraudsters to ply their nefarious trade. Nowadays, automation is simply too fast for anyone to even try and do their worst.

Teachers were able to go home safely after performing their duty.

The Comelec deserves to be commended, indeed!

* * *

So what happened to Otso Diretso?

Taking everything into consideration, instead of bringing up issues that affect us as a people, they focused on President Duterte instead.

To me this was a big mistake considering the President’s high popularity ratings.

Being a smart politician, Duterte took it upon himself to endorse his favorite candidates. In effect, Duterte became the main issue as far as the opposition is concerned.

And it worked!

Many factors contributed to the defeat of the opposition—lack of awareness, lack of resources, among others. But they should not have made the President the main issue.

* * *

The big question that comes up with the President’s favorite candidates’ win is this: Can the Senate continue to be an independent body?

In my almost 70 years as a journalist, I have always known the Senate to be independent. The president could not always have his way. But now there are only four minority senators. There are fears that we will have a rubber-stamp Senate. Still I believe that we can have an independent Senate.

* * *

A big loss to the Senate is former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

I had hoped he would win despite his old age of 94. He may be old, but he is still wise. He could still have a lot to contribute to the Senate.

* * *

I am not surprised that Lito Lapid still made it to the Magic 12 despite his lack of advertisements. He did not have to, because many people know who he was.

Topics: Emil Jurado , 2019 midterm polls , VCMs , Vote Counting Machines , Comelec
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