Is Our Election Process Fair?

We have been bombarded by numerous problems lately and, the events that had transpired in the previous years, especially last 2009, did not help our situation any better. The infamous "Maguindanao Massacre" had created quite a sensation that put our nation at the top of the world once again, gaining the title of "The World's Most Dangerous Place for Journalists". Adding this award to our long list of titles in the same field like "The World's Most Corrupt Government" did not hurt either. It seems as if we are really competing against other nations for this type of recognitions.

We have worked hard to beat Afghanistan, Iraq, and also our other neighboring Asian countries as well for these. How was that? Before those things occurred, we are already internationally acclaimed due to a lot of interesting events that always put our country to the covers of international news and magazines. Before Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, there was Imelda Marcos. And then again, there was Ferdinand Marcos. Our country's been famous for being the spring for news which, more often than not, shocked the world. The "incident" in Maguindanao was nothing but an icing in the cake.

For a very small country in the eastern part of the world, we are such great newsmakers. These world-renowned events in our country are just bits of pieces of sand in the Sahara desert compared to the plentiful crimes, committed here, only here, in the Philippines. If we are to count every fraud, every Filipino suffering, every lie committed by government officials, every cent corrupted by the government, every billions of money added to their bank accounts, every Filipino dying (take note, not all are because of natural causes), every family grieving, every shattered dreams of each citizen, every student disappearing, every right violated…

the list is endless! We would not be able to count at all. It was devastating, frustrating to hope for a better future here in this nation. Unfortunately, these kinds of oppressing proceedings are not limited in the economic level alone. Narrow it down further and you will see that every small community, every region, every part of an institution has its own manifestation or miniature counterpart of unjust rulings. In every sector of the society, there is always the oppressed, and it was in different forms.

If we are going to trace and recall the rich history of our nation, it would just show that we have been browbeaten most of our lives. From the colonial periods, to the series of leaders that ruled us, up to this moment, when we were supposedly independent, free and democratic, we are still struggling very hard to perceive and experience the benefits of "… the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace,…" to quote the Preamble of our 1987 Constitution.

Amidst all these comings and goings in of events in our country, the youth sector strives to be felt by voicing out their opinions, doing what they can to fight for what they believe in. To form the kind of government that ought to be what a government really is, according to what they thought what it should be. These youths, mainly students of universities, goes beyond the affairs of their universities and go as far as the affairs within the community and then to the nation.

Not contented in the confines of their universities, they courageously launch their bold activities, protests, and shouts for change in the streets, encouraging more individuals to join them and fight the adversaries for real development and transparent ruling. As students learning the authentic dynamics of a society, government and economy, these freshly educated young people do their best to see in actuality what their newly learned ideologies, processes, and laws state and how they should be applied.

As their eyes were gradually opening to see the reality of what is happening in their environment, in their country, seeing and realizing that they were terribly wrong about a lot of things in their surroundings, they act and do their best to change and improve the situation, hoping to save the nation from infringement. This they do by amalgamation. By uniting, using collective action as weapons, knowledge as self-defenses and courage as a motivation against hindering forces of their battle for national prosperity, they come out together as a big block of power, making them a big threat to whomever they were challenging.

There are actually many definitions of civil society. But with all its working definitions, I understand civil society as a certain domain that is independent of the state. According to Sidney Silliman, civil society seeks benefits, political reform and accountability from the state but it does not aim to gain formal power nor is it there to overthrow the government. As the country develops to keep up with the modern world, the political system also becomes more complex and in addition, the people become more difficult to control.

This is why there has been an ongoing rise for civil society groups, many of which assume the functions and processes normally associated with governments to try and compensate with the current situation. Citizen activism in the Philippines has been generally caused by our deteriorating socioeconomic conditions, the corruption which goes on in different parts of the political system and the failure of the government to address and mend them. Citizens have then come together and organized different civil society groups in response to these circumstances to either compensate for the state’s failures or to pressure the state to correct its policies.

Election is the process by which members in a given community or nation choose there leaders in democratic society, therefore such kind of an election should be free and fair to ensure that the leaders era acceptable to all members of the society therefore an election should give basic freedom to citizens in order to have full participation in the elector process example people should be around to join a political party of there choice without fear of intimidation, they should have access to political and elector information through civic education they should also have the right to vote secretly without coition or vote buying.

Therefore fair elections must have a process which is impartial and satisfies the basic in the national standards. However, it within the process of free and fair elections that citizen express there will through the elected representatives, hence such leaders are expected to elected in a free and fair elections and can only to removed from the office through the same process, therefore a person who intimidates, corrupt and threatens the citizens before or after election becomes an enemy of democracy.

Free and fair elections must be open to adults and the losers are expected to accept the results. The body conducting the election exercise must be impartial, transparent and able to enforce the elector rulers especially the elector code of conduct, all parties and candidates should be treated equally without discrimination or favorer as such gives the public trust and confident. the election body should ensure that all contestants or candidate offering themselves for elections should have equal opportunity especially in use of public resources during the complains.

It’s therefore important to note that the party in power will certainly enjoy certain advantages in fields of government resources use of existing administrative structures and use of public media in this regard such advantages should be checked and remitted to try and ensure that all interested parties in the political arena enjoy the same privileges. Finally it’s the responsibility of every voter to ensure that election is a success. Such can only be achieved when the election process is free from barebelly intimidation and violence hence, making it transparent, free, fair and credible election.

The Election process has always been controversial issue for every election process we had. It is a very hot topic during a time when we citizens have to vote for a candidate we think deserving to win to rule a country. But are we sure that the election process is fair? That no cheating is happening during counting of votes and no manipulation is done in order to change the credibility of the results? Well, these are the some questions that are playing inside the minds of many voters who want change and who wants improvement for their country.

A lot of countries are undergoing the process of election and only some of these countries achieve successful election process. What do we mean by successful? I really think that successful election process pertains to when the election was done with no manipulation done making the results credible and accurate not that it is just only been done for the sake of finishing the process and declaring someone who won without validating the credibility and accuracy of the results.

Don't you think that right of the people is being violated when there is manipulation done during the election process? Yes, of course because it is not fair for people because during election, I believe that these people are the boss and their right to vote should be respected. At the end, these are the ones being ruled out by an official who won the election. Like in many countries election is always being manipulated in order to get what they desire. At the end of this journey, we must put into our minds that power and money isn't just the most important things in the world, dignity is.

For officials, inculcate in your minds that, once you cheat in election, your dignity is being destroyed thus making you the most poor and powerless person in the country you are in. When compared to other forms of governments, monarchies and dictatorships, democracy is the best form of government by far. Most of the nations have chosen the way of liberty and equality of people; their progress has always been a direct outcome of it. One of the things that make democracy so effective is that people can decide whom they would be governed by.

Although democracy enjoys much more benefits than any other form of government in this world currently, there have always been doubts in the minds of people whether the election process is really fair. Although issues like ballot tampering and other illegal measures in developed countries are not considered to influence the verdict of people, some candidates can have an unfair edge over their competitors in other ways. It is a well-known fact that a great deal of success of the presidential candidate depends on the publicity and the campaigns that they conduct before the elections.

The better people see the candidate, the greater his chances of winning the elections are. Although this may not always be true, and the individual’s personal charisma and intellect also play a role in the victory, the magnitude of campaigns can influence the outcome of the elections to a large degree. When we consider the fact that the person who has the greatest financial backing has the best chances of conducting a massive campaign, we can but see that the playing field is no longer equal. Therefore, the election process may not be fair in this sense.

Philippine politics is largely controlled by the economic elite. Electoral competition did not revolve around class differences. Instead, politics was a game played within the elite classes, who manipulated and controlled the political process. The election process is the main mechanism where people participate to select those who will pass laws, formulate policies and govern. Patronage politics and "guns, goons and gold" thwart the people's there is no substantial people's participation in decision-making and governance. Rumors of coups accompanied the national elections as from the beginning.

On the popular front, many people affirmed that the present oligarch system would be swept away by a popular uprising leading to a revolution. Without going to such extremes, it was high time that the Philippine government faced its countries problems and paid due attention to popular demands.

References:

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