Rigga morris. Ang Bagong Luto ni Duterte. Ha(luh)lanfeels.
It’s hard to find the right words to describe Eleksyon 2019. The closest might be “unfair.” Plunderers got into the Magic 12, COMELEC’s transparency server got delayed, and no opposition candidate entered in the winning circle. We can’t help but ask: What the actual fuck happened?
With trending hashtags like #HalalanDayaan2019, #ManualRecount, and #LabanBayan right now, the political unrest among the majority is apparent. There are a lot of events that unfolded yesterday and earlier today that led to this. If you’re living under a rock or you’re just politically apathetic, here’s everything that went wrong during Eleksyon 2019.
We can’t help but ask: What the actual fuck happened?
Show us the real receipts
Some voters were surprised to see that their voter’s receipt didn’t reflect the actual contents of their ballot. Before someone declares “fake news,” it’s worth noting that Cynthia Villar was one of the victims. “In an interview, Villar said she was surprised when she saw a certain name of a candidate she didn’t vote (for) in her voter’s receipt,” DZRH News says. They went on to say that “there is a possibility that she committed a mistake while shading the oval of her ballot.”
Several precincts also experienced glitches with the voting machines throughout the voting period, including, Inquirer reported, cases of corrupted SD cards in the PCOS machines. Apart from digital anomalies, DZMM TeleRadyo also reported two vote counting machines that were allegedly thrown away and burned in Cagayan Valley.
Transparency? What’s that?
Of all days, the COMELEC’s transparency server chooses to undergo technical difficulties during the election day itself. How convenient. The server went down for seven hours, leaving the media with stale updates. GMA News Online said the “unofficial vote count shown at the PPCRV’s command center in Manila remained at 0.38 percent,” as of their posting time at 11:30 pm. After “overcoming the glitches,” the transparency server sent an update around 1:47 am, with 90.57 percent of precincts transmitted.
“This seems like a disenfranchisement of (the) right to suffrage of voters because they are not sure if their votes were counted,” Carlo Obrero, a division election supervising officer, told Inquirer. Celedonia Salvador Elementary School in Paco, Manila are one of the many affected polling places yesterday. The same article added, “the voting machines were not recognizing the registered voters’ names.” The teachers claimed the voting machines are supposed to be new. So why the anomalies then?
The COMELEC blames a Java error in the system. “ The problem that the data dipped is temporary. The Java app just has to be restarted,” Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon tells GMA News Online. Oh, okay. Care to expound on that? “We are fixing it, Comelec is fixing it,” she adds. Sure, Jan.
“How to migrate?”
Apart from election woes, my feed was flooded with “how to migrate” memes and Google screenshots from my friends. Rappler reported that “Twitterverse’s citizens were also not holding back on expressing their dismay, as they tweeted (mostly jokingly) about migrating because of the results.” Oh wow, look at the blatant display of privilege. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Escapism may be relatable right now, but this is not the kind of energy we need. Here’s the thing, not everyone has the same privilege as you to leave the country. It won’t even solve anything and it will only benefit you. Unfortunately, problems don’t end when we’re not present to experience them.
So if you truly care or stand for the people here, you won’t leave, you’ll fight through activism and raising socio-political awareness. It can be through volunteer work with progressive party lists or finding ways to educate voters.
The drama and stress are causing people to point fingers. Right now, some blame “bobotantes” for wasting their vote on candidates who have clearly done the country wrong. If you think of the poor this way, you’re part of the problem.
“There is symbolic violence when you begin to talk about the poor as all bobotantes, as all just giving in without us not understanding the particular circumstances in their respective communities. We have to be sensitive about that,” Ateneo de Manila University political science faculty member Lisandro E. Claudio told Inquirer. They conducted a study in April 2016 to debunk the myth against bobotantes. “It assumes that the poor don’t know what they are getting into or don’t know what they are doing when they engage in the act of vote buying when in fact, they do.”
If we’re going to point fingers, we can start by calling out politicians and the lack of voter education. What do we expect if the president himself thinks “vote buying” is integral to Philippine elections? There’s also a problem with us. We tend to forget to make an effort to educate others, which, in the process, limits our political stances’ reach.
Text spams and voter threats
Instances like these make us feel like democracy is dead in a ditch somewhere. Here in Manila, the popo were found distributing “black propaganda.” They were seen distributing Pulis Serbis Balita, PNP’S own publication. Tsek.ph confirms “the alleged distribution of an official publication by PNP red-tagging Bayan Muna and Kabataan Party-lists on election day, May 13.” According to Kontra Daya Manila, these “contain stories linking the Makabayan partylist bloc with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.”
PNP clearly violated Art. XXII, Sec. 261.i of the Omnibus Election Code, which states that the intervention of public officers or employees may be considered an “election offence.” The COMELEC is yet to address the matter.
Black propaganda on progressive party lists
On May 11, three days before the election, a Facebook post from Manilakbayad revealed that five party lists were allegedly disqualified: Kabataan, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Act-Teachers. All of them are considered to be progressive party lists. According to the posts, all of them are linked to communist groups like CPP-NPA-NDF.
This news was heartbreaking, if it was true in the first place. Rappler explains that “the party-list groups mentioned in the posts posted official statements on their respective Facebook pages on May 12 denying that they have been disqualified.” While ACT Teachers party list called the fake news as “black propaganda,” it didn’t stop people and groups from sharing the post, including the pages of Baguio City Police Station 5 and PNP Cordillera.
Criminals as leaders
This is not the time to mince words. The entry of the next batch of 12 senators is enough to trigger an anxiety attack. Senator Bong Revilla just got out of jail despite a criminal conviction for the plunder of P224 million in discretionary funds, Cynthia Villar wants to lower the age of criminal liability, Bong Go has been linked to a huge drug scandal, Imee Marcos is Imee Marcos—they’re like The Avengers formed by the Dark Lord. This will be our reality for a couple years. They will be our nation’s lawmakers, even if they’re not that great at following the law themselves.
If there’s one thing that clearly went wrong, this is the pinnacle of it. Gwapo kasi eh or Sila lang kilala ko will not save us when things go south. Clearly, qualified people could have spoken for the public. But alas, that’s not what the public or the powers that be (questionable voting machine glitches) wants.
So as progressive Christians and atheists once said, God Bless the Philippines. Or if you’re anything like me:
Art by Tyra Monzones