“Kidnapping” SK electors

DEC 2-8, 2010

COMMENTARY

Sometimes future events can be ascertained especially when factors are known at present. The outcome of election participated in by a few like the election of the Sangguniang Kabataan federation president is one of such events that can be predicted, if stealth against free choices is pursued by moneyed patrons.
We knew of several “kidnappings” or “hostagings” of Sangguniang Kabataan voters last barangay and SK elections and most possibly, given the handful of SK barangay chairmen, there would be a new round of these come the election of the SK federation chairman who will represent the youths aged 15 years old and below to the local sanggunian. The panel interview route of the Tagum City might be a formula to preempt or discourage this practice of “kidnapping” or “hostaging” few SK electors which in one pattern actually take in the form of bringing them, at least the majority of voters, to inland resorts or beaches purportedly for a seminar and there they are entertained with a lot of food, drinks and given money a day or days before the election day. Or they are brought to Davao City to go for a whole day of fun and entertainment- have them watched movies in 3D or deluxe cinema, dined in superb restos, shopped around for new attire and slept in posh hotel. By the early morning they would ferried back home to vote for candidate of their R & R sponsor. We recall what happened in the past SK election of federation officers.
The matter with this type of modus operandi is that it jibes with the zest, caprice and gusto of the young, and parents of them who choose no political fences just go with it seeing that at least their leader sons or daughters are given good, fun-filled exposure under the safe tutelage of their political sponsor, while expecting they would be bringing cash once they return home. The other matter is that there’s a veneer of still free choice of those entertained as they would vote not under duress – only that they have been entertained beforehand, and then legitimacy of the election is declared by the authorities.
As this might again occur, let there be reminder that the election of the young is ought to be ideal and ought to be left alone to youths themselves, free and away from the rotten election system of the old. Unfortunately, the latter infects the former, and who should be culpable and responsible for this are the olds who sponsor and dole out the money for entertainment.
Verily, we still have a long way to go in making our election system mature enough to elect leaders into public offices out of the much advocated honesty, fairness and free will. After over five decades since the birth of the Republic we seem to be still having birth pains towards having a truly democratic exercise of freedom to choose our leaders. In still dreaming for this, at least the electoral system of the young should be spared if we can’t practically shake off the mischiefs of the electoral system of the old and mature. Needless to say, the SK election would be better if the youths are left alone to decide among themselves who would be their winners. They’re indeed the hope of the fatherland, in fact our last hope, and the fire of their idealism should not be put off by the darkness in the system of the old. We can only hope for now that this “hostaging, kidnapping” modus operandi wouldn’t be universal and widespread before the election day of the SK federation officers.- CHA MONFORTE

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