The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be busy starting this week with the task of providing details to voters about the candidates who filed their candidacy. Until October, Comelec officers and employees will be occupied to ensure that the elections remain peaceful and orderly until the winners are proclaimed.
Despite this, there are concerns about scenarios where money will flood the barangay elections due to the involvement of politicians who serve as financiers during elections. Barangay captains play a significant role in their networking as part of their preparations for elections.
The question is, what effective measures can Comelec implement to curb the customary practice of vote buying during Philippine elections? Based on records, the first-ever conviction for vote buying in the Bicol Region, if not the entire country, came from the town of Bato in the Province of Catanduanes. This should serve as a precedent and guiding principle for Comelec to continue such campaigns and focus on the fight against vote buying in the barangay.
If barangay elections can be corrected, and vote buying can be eradicated, our residents will have a better chance of selecting the right leaders who will oversee good governance at the smallest political unit of the government.
It is better if our politicians refrain from interfering, especially since the barangay is considered non-partisan. There should be no political parties in the barangay because they should operate independently of politicians.
The fate of the voters lies in our hands. Let us not waste this opportunity to uplift deserving leaders. If there are incumbents seeking re-election, but they have betrayed our trust in the past, why should we give them another chance?
Let’s sweep away Barangay officials who do not adhere to the law. Remove barangay captains who abuse their power, those who act as if they are the lords of their councils and become autocratic once they hold office.
If we know their track record, especially officials who put themselves above the law, change your selection criteria to prioritize those who can bring peace and prosperity to the barangay, rather than officials who act as if they are the center of the universe once they win. Do not be easily swayed, be wise and discerning in your choices.