Rottenness of the last barangay elections
Corruption in Philippine reactionary election was yet again exposed glaringly during the recent barangay election. As in the past, it was exploited by political dynasties to consolidate their power and prepare for the next elections.
From August 28 to election day, October 30, violence and harassment of politicians against rivals, vote buying, meddling of big politicians, landlords and businessmen, and military interference, were widespread.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recorded a mere 32 incidents of election-related violence. In these cases, 19 people were killed while 19 were injured. In the agency’s report, vote buying cases were less than 200. These numbers are grossly far from the truth.
Widespread vote buying
In Bukidnon alone, vote buying was been recorded in all its 464 barangays. The province’s politicians and businessmen poured millions of funds to ensure their bet’s victory. The going rate for votes for village captain was at ₱700-₱1,000.
Notorious criminals were supported by rotten politicians including the Delamace family of Cabanglasan who control three barangays (Freedom, Dalacutan and Silae). This family is responsible for innumerable crimes against locals including beatings, landgrabbing and murder of rivals.
In San Fernando town, police and soldiers took no action amid the terror sowed by Nonong Salusad, a paramilitary leader. He extorted ₱200,000 from village chief candidates in five barangays. In Barangay Kibungkog, he stole the ₱750,000 election kitty of two candidate captains competing against his supported candidate.
In Sorsogon, votes for village captain were reportedly bought at ₱300-₱1,300. There are cases where rival candidates for barangay captain were both minions of the mayor.
Soldiers and police collude with big politicians. In Sorsogon, a squad of soldiers were deployed in each barangay since October 27. In Laguna, 1st IB soldiers and tanks were deployed widely in Santa Maria town from October 1. These troops were deployed in the area under the guise of maintaining the town’s security in connection with the barangay election.
Attack on progressive candidates
As in the past, state forces targeted a few progressive and patriotic candidates for the barangay election.
In Batangas, the 59th IB attempted to block Ronald Ramos’s candidacy for captain of Barangay Macalamcam A, Rosario. Soldiers maliciously accused him of having links with the revolutionary movement in the province in an attempt to justify his suppression.
In Quezon, Bukidnon, the town mayor’s staff themselves interfered and vilified activist candidates. The mayor fears that if progressives win, they might link arms with the people in their struggle for their rights.
The National Task Force-Elcac also slated some of its minions to run in Bukidnon. In the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia, they fielded and funded traitor “surenderees.” All of them were flat-out losers.
Red-tagging incited by state agents was widespread in many parts of the country. Cases were documented in Cebu City, in Tondo, Manila, and elsewhere. Fliers vilifying leaders who led mass struggles in their areas were distributed in adjacent towns of Pavia, Zarraga and Iloilo City in Iloilo.
In addition to cases of violence and vote buying, the Kontra Daya group condemned the testing of the electronic election system in two barangays in Cavite and one in Quezon City. According to Kontra Daya, the use of the electronic system will only exacerbate election fraud which will be easier to conceal.