HAVING COME so close to not having elections at all, there was enormous pent-up political energy in the runup to the recently concluded polls. The elections released all that pressure and actually improved the prospects for political stability. This is also due to public opinion finally being clarified once and for all: After 2004, which should have settled the questions of legitimacy and a mandate definitively, the country had stumbled along with only public-opinion polls serving as a rough guide to the public mood.
ACCORDING TO AC Nielsen, the top 12 ad spenders this year had a total bill of P1.6 billion. Some candidates have questioned the figures, saying they received a considerable amount of discounts. But no one is denying that they did pay sizeable amounts for their ads, and that they paid almost immediately.
MONEY CAN’T buy you love — or votes, as some politicians who spent big on ads have found out.
Indeed, only four of the 12 biggest spenders on ads for the recently concluded midterm elections have made it so far in the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) ‘Magic 12’ for the Senate. Two more from the list of those with deep pockets (as drawn up by the market research, information, and analysis company AC Nielsen) still have slim chances of sneaking into the Upper House at the last minute, but that means they spent a total of P242.9 million just to get to the bottom of the winners’ list.
MOST OF them were formed in reaction to the allegations of widespread fraud that marred the 2004 polls, but even the newest among today’s poll watchdogs are admitting they are no match to the election cheats.
Then again, way before May 14, many of the election monitors — old and new alike — were already saying it was impossible to clean up the country’s election system. They had hoped, however, that their larger numbers would minimize poll “irregularities.” One of the newcomers, Kontra Daya, also said they were aiming to expose how the cheats were going to do it.
VOTING wasn’t a problem for most of the first-time voters whom I spoke to. Aside from flyers that were given away in front of poll precincts, all of them said that the proper voting process was followed.
BARELY A week left in the run-up to the 2007 midterm polls, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. is still trying to convince people that the May 14 elections will be credible and honest. He probably hoped it would be peaceful, too, but election-related violence has claimed the lives of close to a hundred people so far, including a Cebu mayoral candidate shot dead right in front of the Comelec’s provincial office.
OKAY, enough with playing around. The polls next Monday may be “just” midterm elections, but they do deserve our serious attention (and a great amount of our patience). After all, the results could help cut short the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who could face yet another round of impeachment proceedings if her opponents muster enough numbers in Congress. If the results go the other way, the administration could either delude itself into thinking it has been performing well or thank the people for those votes of confidence by truly performing well.
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